Through all the injuries and obstacles, one thing that this undermanned Celtics team never lacked this postseason was confidence. They believed in themselves, believed the next shot would always go in, and had a roster full of players that were always eager to take that next shot.
For most of this improbable playoff run, that inflated confidence worked in their favor and allowed them to will their way past a pair of teams that were more talented on paper. However, that same mindset, combined with an unhealthy reliance on the 3-point shot ultimately cost this team a chance at the NBA Finals on Sunday night in an 87-79 defeat to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A terrific defensive effort for three quarters by Boston was masked by their worst postseason shooting performance of the year. They shot 34 percent from the field, and 17 percent from 3-point range despite tying a postseason-high with 39 3-point attempts. The culprits were mainly found in the backcourt. Jaylen Brown was 3-of-12 from deep. Terry Rozier missed all 10 of his attempts. Marcus Smart chipped in with a 1-of-10 night from the field and was 0-of-4 from downtown.
Collectively, the guards accounted for just 21 points despite taking 42 shots. Rozier and Brown didn’t go to the free-throw line one time while playing a combined 74 minutes. With the game on the line, the Celtics left their fate in the hands of the shooting Gods despite playing one of the worst defenses in the NBA this season. The decision came back to bite them, especially since they left their top scoring weapon as a bystander for most of it.