Maine Celtics fall 117-100 in deciding Game 3, lose G League championship to the Oklahoma City Blue

A 28-0 OKC run starting in the second quarter blew the game open, and Maine was never able to recover. 
Apr 12, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Drew Peterson (13) shoots for three.
Apr 12, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Drew Peterson (13) shoots for three. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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Midway through the second quarter, the Maine Celtics trailed 42-40 to the Oklahoma City Blue in the championship-deciding Game 3 of Finals. Maine was a little uptight, head coach Blaine Mueller said, and was dealing with early-game shooting struggles — but it was anyone’s game with five minutes to play in the first half. 

Then, the Oklahoma City Blue embarked on a dominant 28-0 run, silencing the sold-out Portland Expo crowd. The Celtics trailed by 23 by halftime, and by as many as 30 in the third quarter. Though a late push cut the deficit to 15, they were never able to make a real run for it. That lopsided five-minute spurt was ultimately too costly for the Celtics to overcome, though a couple of second-half pushes gave the crowd something to cheer for. 

“You look at the box score the rest of the way, it was an even game – what we expected,” head coach Blaine Mueller said postgame. 

In turn, the Blue won their first-ever franchise championship, with 2022 lottery pick Ousmane Dieng earning Finals MVP honors. Maine, on the other hand, will have to settle for a franchise-first Finals appearance. 

Two-way point guard JD Davison kept the Celtics in it for as long as he could, finishing with 22 points, 10 assists, and four steals, while two-way player Drew Peterson added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Davison and Peterson took the podium jointly after the loss, while the Blue loudly celebrated their championship on the other side of the wall.  

Offensive struggles plague the Celtics

Maine struggled offensively all night, shooting just 42.6% from the field and 28.2% from downtown en route to the blowout loss. DJ Steward, who was pivotal in Maine’s first two postseason wins, struggled mightily from the field, finishing with just 5 points on 2-12 shooting.  

Neemias Queta, Jordan Walsh, Davison, and Peterson all spent the weekend in Boston, playing extended minutes in the Celtics’ two final regular season games. But Mueller said the shooting struggles should not be attributed to tiredness from that extended load. 

“I didn’t really think it was legs,” he said. “Maybe a little bit of anxiety, just pressing, guys really, really, really wanting to make shots. A little bit too tight. Never really had a spurt there where anyone took the lid off the rim like we’ve had in the previous games here in the playoffs.” 

It certainly didn’t help that Maine’s two standard contract NBA players – Queta and Jordan Walsh – were unexpectedly playing below full-strength; Queta was battling illness and was a game-time decision, while Walsh tweaked his ankle in the first quarter and was in visible pain for the rest of the night. The rookie started the second half, but played just three minutes in the third quarter before checking out for good. 

Neemias Queta was limited to just 20 minutes, and the Celtics played the Blue pretty even in that span – he finished the night with 8 points (4-5 FG), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and  a +/- of -1. 

“He was really sick, not feeling great,” Meuller said of Queta, noting he was productive in the minutes he played. “Tried to do everything he could, just kind of ran out of gas.” 

For OKC, it was a well-balanced attack, with six players scoring in double-figures. Ousmane Dieng led the way with 25 points on 9-14 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Jahmi’us Ramsey added 18 points off the bench. 

Celtics come up just short of a franchise-first G League championship

It was a disappointing outcome for a Celtics team that began the season 11-11 before turning things around and coming one game short of a championship. The Celtics handily won Game 1 against OKC, 106-86, dropped Game 2 99-89 on the road, before ultimately falling in Game 3, 117-100. 

“It’s frustrating, obviously,” Peterson said. “Thought we had a really good chance to win this thing, going up 1-0. Give them credit, they made adjustments, played really well.” 

The Blue’s Lindy Waters III was one of those adjustments. The forward, who was not with OKC in Game 1, exploded for a game-high 29 points in Game 2 and added 15 points and 11 rebounds in the deciding Game 3. 

Still, Peterson, Davison, and Mueller all echoed one thing postgame: regardless of the outcome, it was a very special season. 

“It’s been said a lot, but it really was a special group of guys – friendships, relationships with staff that last a lot longer than tonight,” Peterson said. “It’s frustrating, but I’m really proud of the season we have.” 

Further Reading

After Career Night, Reflective Payton Pritchard Discusses NBA Journey and His Ultimate Pursuit

'Nip That in the Bud': Celtics Address End-of-Season Struggles

Jrue Holiday on Celtics Extension: 'Try to Get More Banners, Get More Rings'

Celtics Embracing Challenge to Go Beyond Most Talented

Jayson Tatum Opens Up About Sacrificing in Celtics' Title Pursuit: 'It's a Process'

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Bobby Krivitsky


Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.