Boston Celtics

Mazzulla breaks down final possession vs. Cavaliers: ‘I called a timeout'

The Celtics coach claimed to call a timeout with 4.6 seconds left.

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Tuesday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers ended in heartbreak for the Boston Celtics and snapped their 11-game win streak.

The C's blew a 22-point lead with under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Cavs forward Dean Wade outscored Boston on his own 20-17 in the final frame and finished 6-of-9 from 3-point range. His putback dunk in the final seconds ended up being the game-winner.

Despite blowing their large lead, the Celtics still had a chance to win the game. Following Wade's go-ahead dunk, Boston took possession down one with 18 seconds left. Jayson Tatum brought the ball up the court slowly, holding the ball around halfcourt to take the clock down to eight seconds.

Finally making a move on Cavs guard Darius Garland, Tatum drove into the post and attempted to spin off Garland to hit a fadeaway mid-range shot. The attempt bounced off the rim and out, and Kristaps Porzingis was there for the putback -- but a foul was called against Garland to send Tatum to the line.

Upon further review, the officials deemed the contact was the result of Tatum swinging his leg out, so the foul was overturned and the game would resume with a jump-ball at center court with less than a second to go, despite the clock seeming to show more time at the time of Garland's recalled foul.

Porzingis won the tip and Derrick White caught the ball. White attempted to call an immediate timeout, but the refs ended the game. Following three questionable instances to end the game -- the overturned foul, the time on the clock, and not honoring White's timeout -- the Celtics fell 105-104.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla spoke to the media following the loss to add another interesting element -- he claimed he signaled for a timeout with 4.6 seconds left on the clock, before Tatum's shot attempt.

"I called one at 4.6 [seconds], but they didn't see it," Mazzulla said of his attempted timeout.

As for holding for the last shot and taking their time on the final possession while being down one point, Mazzulla acknowledged the mistake, saying they need to be faster moving forward.

"We've got to go faster there," Mazzulla added. "I thought [Derrick] White got the matchup we wanted into it, we've just got to play a little but faster. Down one in that situation, you try to get a couple more possessions, and we just have to get into it faster, go faster, and try to extend the game."

As for the 22-point blown lead, Mazzulla said the team went cold in the fourth quarter and gave Cleveland life.

"I thought we just went cold," Mazzulla added. "I thought we had some really good possessions where we didn't make the shot, and I thought we had some tough shots. Credit to them, I thought Wade played really well, I thought they made plays down the stretch."

The Celtics scored just 17 points on 8-25 from the field and 0-8 from deep in the fourth quarter, where the Cavaliers couldn't miss, hitting 11-15 of their attempts, 8-11 from deep for 34 points.

Boston will look for a bounce-back win Thursday at 10 p.m. ET as they take on the Denver Nuggets on the road in what could be a preview of the 2024 NBA Finals.

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