'Had the Right Mindset': Celtics Say Mentality with Championship Opportunity Not Root of Game 4 Loss

Jun 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dribbles the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second quarter during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dribbles the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second quarter during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks extended their season, getting on the board in the NBA Finals, with a win at home to make it a 3-1 series going back to TD Garden on Monday. They handed the Boston Celtics their third loss of the postseason, turning a potential championship coronation into a night they made history of their own.

The Mavs gave Boston the third-largest defeat in NBA Finals History.

“Give them credit,” Jayson Tatum said postgame. “They played well tonight and we didn't. We had the right mindset and right intentions. We wanted to come out and play super well and win, but it just didn't go that way tonight. But, you know, we are fortunate. We get another opportunity on Monday.”

The Celtics shot poorly all game, as the Mavs took an early double-digit lead and never looked back. Dallas was once leading by 48, and halftime was a 26-point deficit holding this historic Celtics team to just 35 points. Boston shot just 36.3 percent.

“Close-out games are hard,” Jaylen Brown said. “Close-out games are tough. They always have been like that, and you've got to have extreme focus. You've got to come out and meet their intensity to finish things out. So we didn't do that tonight.”

For a top defensive team since the trade deadline and a reason why many favored Dallas in these Finals, Mavs played maybe their best defensive game these playoffs. That is saying something, considering Dallas has thrived off its defense in the run to get here, while Boston, per usual, has reminded everyone the defensive team they have always been and have completely hunted and exposed them on both ends. Celtics have made that attribute disappear for the Mavs doing it their own way, but Dallas finally punched back disrupting Boston on that end all Game 4.

“Give credit to Dallas,” Brown said. “I thought they played extremely well. Those guys, they crashed, they rebounded and they played with force. Some of those other guys stepped up. We've got to be better and we've got to have some of our guys step up, and that's what it takes.”

It was interesting. You can tell how sort of locked in the Celtics still seemed, as their main faces and Joe Mazzulla stepped up to the podium postgame and gave Dallas their deserved flowers for their beatdown to avoid the sweep.

“They played extremely hard,” Jrue Holiday said. “They played desperate, and we've got to do the same.”

Al Horford continues to starve for that first ring, showing no waver to his focused mentality to finish the job on Monday in Boston.

“I think it was more about Dallas,” Horford said. “You know, I felt like they were the better team tonight, clearly. They played much better, and you've got to give them credit.”

Celtics have the opportunity to adjust with their lead and finally fulfill their destiny in Banner 18 on the parquet floor in Game 5 Monday night.

Further Reading

Celtics Discuss Keeping Mavs from Building on Dominant Game 4

Dependable Xavier Tillman Discusses Learning to 'Be a Star in Your Own Role'

Celtics Detail Keys to Perhaps Their Best Quarter This Postseason

Celtics Weather Late Storm to Move Within One Win of Banner 18

Sports Doctor Details Challenges, Risks of Kristaps Porzingis Playing in NBA Finals

Jrue Holiday's 'Championship DNA' Rubbing Off on Celtics

Stifling Defense Moves Celtics Halfway to Banner 18

Jayson Tatum's Joy Outweighing Pressure of NBA Finals Return

Inside the Moment that Propelled Celtics to NBA Finals Game 1 Win

Celtics Set the Tone for the NBA Finals with Game 1 Haymaker


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Rob Greene

ROB GREENE

@RobGreeneNBA