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Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from backbreaking Game 4 loss vs. Bucks

Boston Celtics

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

After a disappointing loss at home in Game 4, the Boston Celtics are staring down the barrel at elimination at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, who took a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Game 1 feels like a long time ago. The tenacious and stifling defense played by Boston Celtics center Al Horford against Giannis Antetokounmpo might as well have been a dream lost in the haze of an early morning. Kyrie Irving‘s inspired offensive effort feels like a cruel joke after a stretch in which he posted arguably the three worst offensive games of his playoff career.

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Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks appear to be as good as advertised. After dropping the series opener at home, the Bucks have taken control of the series and put Boston up against a wall. They look like the best team in the NBA, as their regular season record would say they are, and seem primed to take a trip to the NBA Finals and possibly win the championship.

Where does Boston go from here? It would be easy to roll over and die, but Kyrie has been in this position before, against the best team of all-time, and everyone knows what happened there. Granted, the Celtics do not have LeBron James. A comeback in a series from being down 3-1 is certainly possible, but highly unlikely for any team, let alone these Celtics.

Maybe the Cs just weren’t as good as advertised. An over-their-heads run led by youth in last year’s playoffs brought on lofty expectations that would have been difficult for even a veteran team to meet. Irving struggled with the pressures of being a 1A superstar all season, while Gordon Hayward was never able to fully return to form from his ankle injury in 2017.

Boston remains one of the best on-paper teams in the NBA. Next year, should they retain Kyrie and add Anthony Davis to the mix, they will again be among the favorites (if not the favorite) to win the title in 2020. This year, however, it feels like they have fallen well short of expectations, in what amounted to being one the least joyous basketball seasons in recent memory.

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Game 4 was a microcosm of everything that had soured for the Celtics throughout the year. Uninspired play and an underperforming bench sunk Boston as quickly as the converses had made them preseason favorites. These are three takeaways from their extremely disappointing Game 4 loss to the Bucks.

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