Consistency Continues to Evade Celtics


18 minutes of game time. That’s all it took to shred any hint of momentum the struggling Celtics had built, and that’s what forced a last-minute change to this title.

Things were actually starting to look up for Boston. They had a 24-point lead in the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans, and were well on their way to winning three-of-four games this week.

Not too shabby!

Instead, however, they are considered to be at rock bottom. That’s the power of such an embarrassing closing effort, and blowing one of the most winnable games you’ll come across.

2/16: Vs. Denver Nuggets

Result: 112-99 W

The Celtics began week nine with a three-game homestand, and took down a shorthanded Denver team despite a 43 piece by Nikola Jokic. Boston was coming off a pair of ugly losses to the Pistons and Wizards, when Jaylen Brown said he had “No comment.” on the lack of ball movement throughout those games.

Denver provided a chance for Brown to lead by example. He dished out five assists, and led the team with 27 points on an efficient 11-20 shooting. He continued to talk the talk the next two games, managing seven and six assists in the miniseries vs. Atlanta. After the game, Brown talked about the improvement and how important this win was.

”We just lost two bad ones. I think it was obvious we needed a win tonight,” Brown said. ”We needed to come out with some energy. And for the most part we did.”

Jayson Tatum posted a steady 21/8/6. He struggled to find his shot, but found other ways to impact the game.


Top Performers

Jaylen Brown: 27p/5r/5a, 5-10 3PT

Jayson Tatum: 21p/6r/8a, 8-8 FT

Kemba Walker: 17p/4a

2/17: VS. Atlanta Hawks

Result: 122-114 L

Trae Young‘s offensive firepower paired with the second night of a back-to-back proved overwhelming for the C’s. The first loss in week nine featured a battle between Young who ended the night with 40 points, and Tatum who bounced back from an iffy performance in his previous outing.

Tatum had 35 points of his own, but there was simply not enough left in the tank for the Celtics who were also missing Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker and Daniel Theis.

Neither team shot the three ball particularly well, but the difference came in the paint where Atlanta outscored Boston 60-46.

“It hasn’t been easy, but we believe,” said Tatum following the loss. “We believe in each other. We believe in ourselves. We’re going to figure it out.”

Top Performers

Jayson Tatum: 35p/6r/6a, 11-21 FG/10-11 FT 

Jaylen Brown: 22p/7a

Tristan Thompson: 14p/7r, 6-8 FG

2/19: VS. Atlanta Hawks

Result: 121-109 W

The Celtics came into this game fierce. They opened a 66-41 lead at the break, and Cardiac Kemba made his first real appearance of the year. Boston attempted 15 fewer free throws than the Hawks, had six fewer assists, and five more turnovers. The difference came in the simplicity of making shots. The Celtics hit on 55.6% of their field goals and 40% from distance, compared to the 42/33 splits for the Hawks.

One of the few steady bright spots this week and season for Boston has been Robert Williams III. The third-year man out of Texas A&M has responded every time he’s been called upon. Even in games like this where he only sees 16 minutes, Williams had 12 points, seven boards, four blocks and two steals. He leads the team in field goal percentage, at 72.5%.

Top Performers

Kemba Walker: 28p/5r/6a, 5-8 3PT

Jayson Tatum: 25p/8r/6a

Robert Williams III: 12p/7r/4b/2s

2/21: @ New Orleans Pelicans

Result: 120-115 L

Celtics fans, turn away.

Forget the embarrassment of giving a franchise their largest-ever comeback. Forget the 24-point lead midway through the third that had vanished by the end of regulation and been completely overtaken through five minutes of overtime. This meltdown embodied everything the Celtics have struggled with thus far. It wiped the smidge of momentum they had built, and dropped the C’s to just half a game above the New York Knicks. Gross.

Boston has struggled in the fourth quarter all year long. They rank 29th in fourth-quarter net rating per NBA.com/stats. A fourth-quarter collapse is what made the second game vs. Atlanta somewhat close, and it eventually caught up to them against Zion and the Pelicans.

Kemba slipped back into the shell of himself that he has been desperately fighting to break since returning from injury. He went 5-for-21 from the field and 1-for-12 from range.

It’s these types of games where the Celtics dearly miss Marcus Smart. Not because he could’ve solely prevented Zion from scoring 24 of his 28 in the fourth/OT (although he would definitely help). But they really miss his playmaking, leadership, voice and energy. The intangibles really come into play when suddenly the entire team is feeling pressure to survive a game that should’ve never been close. Missing that right now, on top of everything else, is noxious.

Tatum did, however, make some insanely clutch buckets in the waning seconds of regulation. So there’s that.


The Celtics play the Dallas Mavericks tonight at 7:30 p.m., before coming right back tomorrow for the winner-take-all game against Atlanta. That concludes their road trip, and they’ll have the luxury of the final four games prior to the All-Star break coming within the comforts of home.

Follow us on Twitter @CelticsLead for the latest Celtics news and insight. 


About Dylan Corey

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com