BOSTON – It was a sight you rarely ever see – Brad Stevens being whistled for a technical foul.
The only thing that would have been more surprising than the Stevens’ technical in Game 4, would have been for Stevens to complain about it afterwards.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t play well enough to beat Philadephia,” Stevens said. “That has nothing to do with anything but Philadelphia and us and we need to do better.”
Boston will get that opportunity tonight as they try to once again close out their second-round series with Philadelphia which they currently lead three games to one.
And they’ll get to do it at home where the Celtics have consistently played with a much sharper edge and sense of urgency, than on the road in the playoffs.
“We are pit bulls,” said Marcus Smart. “This is a dog fight and we are going straight for the neck.”
Officiating was definitely a factor in Boston’s Game 4 loss at Philadelphia, but there was a much greater problem at hand – the Celtics themselves.
Philadelphia was the more aggressive team, evident by the way they controlled the boards. The Sixers forced more turnovers (15 turnovers for 16 points) which factored heavily in Boston not getting into any kind of consistent offensive rhythm.
But the biggest surprise was how Game 4 showed a rare collapse in composure by the Celtics players who were noticeably bothered by the way the game was being called, which had a number of key Celtics players in foul trouble most of the game. In the second quarter alone, Boston was called for 12 personal fouls compared to just one by the Sixers.
“It’s tough,” said Marcus Morris. “I felt like there was a lot of pushing and shoving on both sides. I thought it was physical. They got the benefit of the whistle. It is what it is.”
In addition to the Stevens’ technical foul, Jaylen Brown was whistled for a technical foul moments prior to that.
“I was very surprised,” Brown said of his technical foul. “I don’t have a bad reputation with talking to the officials or anything, but I’m going to go back and look at it and contact somebody to see what was going on there. But it is what it is. We will figure it out.”
Throw in the back-and-forth woofing between Marcus Morris and Joel Embiid, combined with the double technical fouls called on Terry Rozier and Embiid for their face-to-face dustup, and it was clear that Boston wasn’t its usual cool, calm and collected self in Game 4.
But that’s what makes this Celtics team so special.
Maybe more than any team in the league, their calling card has been their ability to turn the next page and not let whatever happens, good or bad, dwell in their minds or more important, affect their play.
When asked about the lessons taken from the Game 4, loss, Terry Rozier replied, “Win the next one."
Indeed, the Celtics seemed like an antsy bunch to get back on the floor following the Game 4 loss, clearly focused on making amends from the defeat.
“I’m ready to go now,” Morris said Monday night following Boston's Game 4 loss. “They had a lot to say in (Philadelphia). They did what they were supposed to do. They got one (win). We did what we were supposed to do, and we got one so we go back 3-1. Hopefully we put it away.”
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