One way or another, the dominant narrative from the Celtics’ 113-109 win over the Pistons on Monday was going to be Boston’s fourth quarter.
The story told: Isaiah Thomas continued his modern-era-record-breaking fourth quarter onslaught, scoring 24 of his 41 points in the final period.
But perhaps, with correct officiating down the stretch, the story would’ve been the Celtics blowing an 11-point lead in the final 10 minutes.
Boston forward Jonas Jerebko got away with a loose-ball foul of Jon Leuer with the Celtics up two and 45.1 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Jerebko (BOS) make contact with Leuer’s (DET) body, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.
Because Boston was in the penalty, a correct call would’ve given Leuer — who’s shooting 89% from the line this season and 75% for his career — two free throws to tie the game.
Instead, the Celtics grabbed the defensive rebound and still led by two when Detroit began intentionally fouling.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.