The Boston Celtics' slump continued Monday night with another blown double-digit lead and overtime loss, this time to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
The C's led by 14 entering the fourth quarter and held a 101-92 advantage with just 4:22 remaining. Another late-game collapse allowed the Cavs to force overtime, where they outscored the Celtics 9-5 to escape with a 118-114 win.
It was the third time in the last week that Boston had coughed up a lead of at least 10 points and lost. They gave up a 28-point lead in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets last Friday. They were up by as many as 14 in the second half against the New York Knicks on Sunday night and lost in double overtime. And then another huge lead was blown versus the Cavs.
What's wrong with the Celtics?
Celtics star Jaylen Brown pinpointed a few areas in his postgame press conference Monday night.
"We should be fighting to win,” Brown told reporters. "That’s what it should be. Whether you're in a rhythm or not in a rhythm, what matters is winning games. At this point in the season, I think that we are fighting to get in our own rhythms a little bit too much. And that’s from the top to the bottom. We should be fighting to win.
"We’ve had possessions that have been pivotal and we haven’t executed. Rebounds, loose balls, turnovers, free throws. All of that stuff -- me included. As we move forward, if we want to do what we want to do, this is the time where you improve, this is the time where you respond. I look at it as a glass half full rather than half empty. It’s a part of the journey. You’ve just gotta respond."
Brown nearly posted a triple-double Monday. He scored 32 points with 13 rebounds and nine assists. He played 45 minutes after playing 47 the night before. It was a valiant effort by the All-Star guard, but it wasn't enough to stop Boston's slide.
The Celtics will return to TD Garden for a Wednesday night matchup against a motivated Portland Trail Blazers team that's in the middle of a tough playoff race in the Western Conference. After that, the Celtics embark on a crucial six-game road trip.
Grant Williams misses game-winning FTs, claimed he'd 'make both'
Brown took his share of the blame for the loss to the Cavaliers, and he's ready to make amends with a victory against the Blazers.
"Tonight was a night where we had an opportunity, or a lot of opportunities, to win a game and go back home feeling a little bit better about ourselves the way we played blowing some huge leads," Brown said. "Tonight it was unfortunate that we didn’t come out with the win. Overtime, I put a lot of that on me, especially in overtime. I could have gotten some better shots for my teammates and I’ll look and see where I could have been better and put our team in a position to win.
"Now, as you head back home, it’s a perfect chance to respond. Portland, whether they’ve been playing well or not, you’ve gotta come out and be the harder playing team. That’s what it’s going to take. So I’ll be ready for Portland."