Celtics Struggling to Find Footing in Bubble


Roller Coaster Ride

It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the Celtics over their first three games in the NBA’s bubble. They kicked off with a valiant effort against Milwaukee (bar Jayson Tatum’s 2-18 outing from the field), but it wasn’t enough. The Eastern Conference’s top seed landed a 119-112 victory, Tatum paid a visit to the barbershop, and the Celtics were ready to move on.

They came out on fire in the next game, taking a 19-point lead at halftime over Damian Lillard and the Blazers. And although Boston wound up surviving, the situation became uncertain in the second half, where Portland dropped 76 points. The young tandem of Tatum and Jaylen Brown were Boston’s bright spots. Tatum revived to the tune of 34 points, eight assists and four boards on 11-for-22 shooting. Brown added in 30 points and six rebounds and buried six-of-eight attempts from three-point land.

Miami Valley

Celtics fans were unsure what to make of this uneven performance, but Boston was in a valley yet again last night against Miami. A furious rally at the end of the game, including a wild three from Kemba Walker, helped the C’s only lose by five, but in reality, this one was never close. The Butler-less Heat outclassed Boston on both sides and drew a considerable amount of fouls. This was Miami’s second game of a back-to-back if you want some salt in the wound.

Tatum and Brown both cooled off from their last performances. They still combined for 41 points, but that didn’t cut it with Miami outscoring Boston’s bench 43-24. Kemba Walker saw his highest amount of minutes since the season resumed, playing for 27. He and Gordon Hayward tied for Boston’s third-highest scorers at 15 apiece. Walker injected some energy into Boston’s fourth-quarter rally with some buzzer-beating antics:

Bam Adebayo, who managed 18 free-throw attempts, led Miami. He ended with 21 points and 12 boards, while Duncan Robinson utilized a contrasting strategy to score his 21 points. Robinson made five threes and shot 6-10 from the field.

Uncertain Future

As a team, the positives begin and end with rebounding for the Celtics. They had a +3 advantage on the boards but fell behind in every other major statistic. Miami had more assists, blocks, steals and fewer turnovers as well as fouls. More important is how this game affects the race for the third seed. Miami has now climbed to 1.5 games within the Celtics, with both teams having five games left.

Next up for the Celtics is tonight at 9 p.m. against an understaffed Brooklyn team. However, the Nets are not to be underestimated after they handed the top-seeded Bucks a 119-116 loss in their last game. Walker will be sidelined for the Celtics, resting his knee on the second night of a back-to-back.

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About Dylan Corey

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