Quickly becoming a theme for this Boston Celtics’ team is their inability to close out games.
Two years ago in their championship season, if a team gave the Celtics a lead at halftime, the C's would build upon it in the third and close out the game in the fourth quarter. Even last season and in the playoffs against top teams, the Celtics were able to finish games.
Unfortunately, this year the Celtics are just 12th in the league in third quarter scoring margin and 21st in the league in their fourth quarter margin. On average, the Celtics gain a half a point on their opponents in the third quarter.
Essentially, the team on average wins the quarter by 0.5 points.
In the fourth quarter, however, the C’s average point differential is -0.5, so they lose the fourth quarter by an average of 0.5 points.
The Celtics are not putting teams away in the third (a point differential of 0.5 points won’t cut it) and are losing ground in the fourth. This team is unable to play with a lead.