If you weren’t necessarily panicked after last game it seems like you should be now. The margin for error has evaporated entirely, and it’s time for the Boston Celtics to get their act together. This was a woeful response to facing adversity for the first time this postseason, and there have been a lot of red flags raised now.
You could clearly see throughout the game that the Celtics hadn’t forgotten about the previous game, and they really couldn’t shake out of it. The offensive game felt lazy and timid, and it showed in their shots. When you feel like you have to be perfect, and tighten up in a sense, it can disrupt your shooting motion, and cause terrible shooting performances, a la Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. The way the last game ended really affected the mind set of the team, and they knew they needed a big bounce back effort. Knowing they needed a big game weighed on the team, and ultimately had a huge effect on their performance.
Brad Stevens has to find a way to get this team to regroup. Despite all that has gone wrong in the past two games the Celtics played well enough in the first two to still be tied. It’s a best of three series now and momentum is on the Toronto Raptors’ side. They’ve got to figure out how to be prepared for whatever Toronto throws at them defensively, whether it be switching assignments or using a constantly changing zone defense that we saw a lot of tonight. The more important issue is they gotta get their offense flowing. Jayson Tatum seemed to be the most in sync tonight, and that’s not saying much. Brown needs to step up to the plate if the Celtics win this series. Think about how much different the game could have been had he hit even one or two more threes throughout the game. Lock him in a court tomorrow and don’t let him out until he hits 50 in a row.
It feels like we are at the point where whoever wins game 5 wins the series. Of course, I said the same thing when the Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 5 a couple years back and they ended up losing, so who knows. Either way, the Celtics can get away with a bad performance tonight. There is still time to fix their issues and advance to the next round. If they lose Monday though, that may not be the case.
(Originally posted on September 5, 2020)