Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Boston Celtics had a terrible shooting performance in their 104-91 loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Bradley Beal scored 35 points, Kemba Walker scored 25, and the only lead Boston held was 2-0 at the start of the game. With the loss, Boston falls back to .500 on the year at 13-13 and in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Once again, the Celtics really struggled to make any shots in this game. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Wizards had already jumped out to a 7-point lead and that was really as close as the C’s got for the rest of the game. Boston just had no life and were never able to put together any sort of run that threatened Washington. Their lead would grow as large as 25 points before the Celtics’ reserves managed to close the deficit to 13 to finish the game.
By the time the final buzzer blew, the Celtics stats were downright ugly. They shot 35% on all field goals, including a hideous 25% on 3-pointers. And for a team that needs the ball to be swinging from side to side to generate their best offense, the 14 assists they finished the game with are nowhere near enough.
While Jayson Tatum put up 32 points and led the C’s to a win the last time these teams met, this time around was a struggle for the Celtics young star right from the opening jump. He went scoreless in the first quarter and only managed 6 points on 3-14 shooting for the game. Building on a trend that has developed this season, the Celtics don’t tend to do well when one of Tatum or Jaylen Brown have an off game. Even with other established players like Kemba Walker on the roster, they really have a hard time making up for the production of those two if they aren’t playing their A-games.
Speaking of Kemba Walker, he put together a nice afternoon in a game where nothing else good happened. Scoring 25 points on 9-18 shooting, he was also an efficient 4-7 from beyond the arc. His two most recent games have been two of his best on the season, so hopefully he has rounded the corner that he seemed to be stuck on for the first part of the season.
As for where the C’s go from here, it’s tough to tell. On one hand, we already knew everything that we saw in this game. The Celtics are awful in daytime games. Stunningly bad. Luckily, most NBA games are at night, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue the rest of the way, and hopefully their playoff series will be entirely night games. On the other hand, the Celtics are in a rut that’s much bigger than one day game. They’re 3-7 in their last 10 games and have dropped their last two games to the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference. Yes, they’re playing a compacted schedule right now, but these are games that they have to win. They just don’t seem to be playing with the right mindset, and the results haven’t been pretty. At some point, they need to start playing the right way, moving the ball and caring on the defensive end, or the losses are going to continue to pile up.
Next up is a matchup with the Denver Nuggets, who are led by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and offensive superstar Jamal Murray. Hopefully, Boston will turn things around and manage to put one in the win column.
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