4 Positive Takeaways from Cleveland Cavaliers Game 4 Loss to Boston Celtics

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost Game 4 to the Boston Celtics on Monday night 109-102. Despite the loss, the Cavs showed some reasons to have optimism for the franchise's future.
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Cavaliers had a must-win Game 4 against the Boston Celtics at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Monday night. Despite the Celtics having the best record in the NBA regular season, the Cavaliers players and fans felt that they had a legitimate chance in the game and the series with how exceptional Donovan Mitchell had been playing over the past week.

Donovan had scored at least 29 points in his last five playoff games and was looking extremely confident and ready for the challenge. Then, just an hour before tip-off, the Cavaliers received devastating news. Mitchell was out for Game 4 with a calf strain. It was a huge blow to the morale of the entire Cavaliers community, beating this juggernaut Boston Celtics team just didn't seem possible without their leader and star player, Donovan Mitchell. And the Cavaliers needed this game badly to avoid going down in the series 3-1.

The Cavs gave an incredible effort but ultimately fell short 109-102. Thanks to great outside shooting and strong contributions from multiple Cavaliers, they were able to take a 65-64 lead with 9:24 left in the third quarter. It felt like the Cavs just might be able to pull off a miracle in Cleveland to keep this series tied. But that inevitable Boston offense would pick back up and the Celtics would put on a run and take a commanding lead.

The Celtics got up as much as 15 points with just over seven minutes left in the game, 98-83. It looked as though the Cavs' magic had run out, but Darius Garland and the Cavaliers gave one last push for victory. They went on a 14-4 run and cut the lead down to five with just under two minutes. They were not able to complete the comeback, but the Cavaliers gave a relentless fight all game long that their fanbase should be proud of. Below are four positive takeaways from their Game 4 loss.

1. The Cavaliers never gave up

A major flaw for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the past couple of years has been their tendency to give up and lie down when things start to go wrong. In their first-round matchup against Orlando, in Games 3 and 4 the Cavs lost by 38 and 23 points respectively. As soon as Orlando was able to grab momentum on their home court, the Cavaliers seemed to lose all fight, giving up lanes to the basket and settling for tough outside shots on offense.

The Cavaliers had as good a reason as any to lose motivation for this Game 4 with the news of Mitchell being out, but that didn't deter them. Everybody who saw the court showed hunger to compete and played with energy to make plays for themselves and others. Max Strus and Caris LeVert knew they had to step up their production with Mitchell out and rose to the challenge. Strus scored 15 points on five threes and had seven rebounds and seven assists.

LeVert was relentless in his attack and had 19 points on 9-of-18 from the field despite shooting only one-of-eight from deep. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both had great games, scoring 33 and 27 points respectively, but the Cavs were still able to stay in the game. Boston built a 13-point lead in the second quarter, and many Cavs fans might have felt that was all Boston would need to escape with a victory. Yet, the Cavs fought back and took a third-quarter lead. Then, again Boston built a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter in which the Cavs cut back down to five. Cavalier fans should be encouraged by how hard they competed with the odds stacked against them.