When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.
So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.
- Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
- Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
- Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
- Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.
And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.
“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.
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- Stevens: 16-game win streak was a 'little bit of a mirage'
Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.
Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.
Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.
“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”
Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.
“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”
Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.
“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.
He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”