NBA Hoops

In the playoffs, you take wins however you can get them

In the playoffs, you take wins however you can get them

People on the internet amuse me.

Before last night: “Yeah, the Celtics can blow teams out, but can they win close games?”

After last night: “Yeah, they won a close game, but they should have blown Cleveland out.”

Yes, the Celtics are a much better team than the Cavaliers. Yes, Donovan Mitchell was out. Yes, it probably should have been more lopsided. But hey, the Celtics won Game 4, 109-102, to take a commanding 3-1 lead. That’s what matters most.

“I think the whole world sees the best player out, thinks it’s an easy game,” Derrick White told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin. “It’s not. Everybody’s got more freedom to be who they’ve been their whole lives.”

The Celtics have a chance to close out Cleveland in five Wednesday night at home. They’re right where they should be and are 7-2 in the playoffs. It’s been an outstanding run outside of two duds.

I know people love to complain and nitpick nowadays. I get it. The Celtics should, ideally, be playing more polished basketball. But this time of year, a win is a win. The reality is that finding a way – whether it’s by 25 or five – is what’s most important.

Beggars can’t be choosers. I would argue that this win – where they had to fend off a pesky bunch – is more beneficial long term than a beat down like Game 1. They’ve shown all season that they can crush teams. Now’s the time to prove they can dig deep.

It’s the NBA Playoffs, people! It’s not going to come easily every night.

“Any win in the playoffs is not easy,” White told Chin. “So we’ll take it.”

This was the Celtics’ first clutch game since April 5 against the Kings. It’s highly unlikely they’ll cruise past the Knicks/Pacers and Wolves/Nuggets/Thunder/Mavericks every night, so this is a good trial run before the competition stiffens and the stakes magnify.

From my perspective, one specific play defined the night, when Jayson Tatum penetrated, made the right read and found an open Jaylen Brown. Brown drilled a 3 to give the Celtics a 105-97 edge with 1:09 remaining.

Darius Garland and the Cavaliers consistently chipped away to that point, but Brown’s timely trey ultimately sealed it.

I agree with you. It probably shouldn’t have come to that. But with the game on the line, the Celtics’ stars showed they’re better together than by themselves. They…

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