Ime Udoka: Celtics would be up 3-1 in NBA Finals if not for ‘poor’ offense

In an alternate universe, the Boston Celtics could be one win away from celebrating the franchise’s 18th championship. 

Unfortunately for the Celtics, the series is tied two games apiece and they still have plenty of work to do. 

On Sunday, prior to Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Celtics, Boston coach Ime Udoka stated that his team could have been up three games to one heading into a possible series-clinching game Monday night at Chase Center if not for a “poor” Celtics offense that took its foot off the gas in the 107-97 loss to Golden State Game 4. 

“First thing you look at is 2-2. We obviously put ourselves in the position to stretch the lead and be up 3-1,” Udoka told reporters on Sunday. “But bottom line is we’re 2-2 and we earned that as well, not being down 0-2 or 1-2 or whatever the case may be.

“And so I’m sure they said the same thing about Golden State after we beat them here. We know it’s a long series. Like I said, we’ve been battle-tested in two seven-game series in Milwaukee and Miami.”

Udoka believes that if the Celtics’ offense was firing on all cylinders, the team would have overcome a Warriors’ offensive effort fueled by Steph Curry’s monster 43-point game. 

“So for us, looking at the positives and things we could have done better. Not playing our best offense overall. I think the narrative gets shifted to Curry and what he’s doing,” Udoka added. “But in our wins and losses, they are scoring the same points.”


“A lot has been reliant on our offense, to your point, in the fourth quarter. But even throughout the game, we had several opportunities, being up five, six, seven, and poor offense or turnovers let them back in the game.”

Simply put, Boston was not able to take advantage of key scoring opportunities and committed too many turnovers. 

“The difference in the game that we stretched the lead was we took advantage of those opportunities,” Udoka said. “We were solid. And against this team, anytime you run some poor offense, turn the ball over, live-ball turnovers, let them get out, we know how quickly they can get back in the game. That was the case in Game 4 when we had our chances.”

RELATED: Steph describes what watching film of his epic Game 4 is like

For the Warriors, a win is a win and their experience and postseason prowess allow them to take advantage of nearly every mistake made by an opponent. 

And they’ll do exactly that in Game 5 if Udoka’s squad doesn’t clean things up. 

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