The Celtics started slow, falling behind 11-2 in the early stages, and it looked like their afternoon game struggles were bound to continue. However, they rebounded and jumped out to a massive 24-point lead, and it looked like this Sunday matinee was in the bag. But the Pelicans came storming back and when all was said and done, they’d created the largest comeback victory in franchise history, winning by the final score 120-115 in overtime.
After overcoming their slow start, Boston took control of the rest of the first half and took a 63-47 lead into the half. They built that lead by keeping Zion Williamson to only 4 points in one of the worst halves of his short NBA career.
This great effort continued into the 3rd quarter, but from there the wheels quickly fell off. After gaining a 79-55 lead on a Tristan Thompson free throw with 6:29 remaining in the quarter, the Pelicans began their run. By the time the quarter ended, New Orleans had closed the deficit to 13. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram combined to score 16 points in that frame, while the Celtics as a team only managed 24.
The fourth quarter was much of the same, with the Pelicans finally regaining the lead with 3:39 left on a Nico Melli 3-pointer. The game went back and forth down the stretch of regulation, with Jayson Tatum doing his best to keep Boston in the game.
In the end though, Boston was unable to contain the Pelicans’ star duo of Williamson and Ingram, as they took over in the fourth and overtime to steal the win out of Boston’s hands. It was Ingram who delivered the go-ahead 3-pointer late in OT to finish off the C’s.
Tatum finished the game with 32 points for Boston, while Ingram (33) and Williamson (28) combined for 61, more than half of New Orleans’ offensive output. Jaylen Brown added 25 for Boston, while Kemba Walker had yet another off game, scoring 14 points but going only 1-12 on 3’s. After a few strong games in a row, this was a let down for a player who looked to be rounding into form. Aaron Nesmith was once again the first player off the bench for Boston, and he seems to be earning more minutes every night with his defensive effort and improving offensive game. Finally, Rob Williams had his most highlight-filled game of the season, with several soaring alley-oops and a few punishing blocks.
The Celtics next game is Tuesday night against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, although the recent harsh weather in Texas may impact that game. Boston will be looking to rebound after this tough loss that brought them back to .500 on the season. If the Celtics are going to be the type of team that we all want them to be, a championship contender, they need to improve upon the lack of focus that allowed this game to slip out of hand, something we’ve seen pop up quite a few times already this season. And the first chance to do that is the next game, so let’s see what this team is made of.
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