Just when it seemed like the Boston Celtics had finally figured things out, they manage to blow it all up. The Celtics were heavy favorites against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that was on a 14 game losing streak, and on the second night of a back-to-back, and somehow managed to lose this game 119-115, marking their third straight loss.
On a night where the Celtics were without Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Rob Williams, Jaylen Brown was going to have to carry a heavy load, and he certainly held up his end of the bargain, dropping 39 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, aside from Payton Pritchard, nobody else showed up in this one, and the Celtics sufferred arguably their worst loss of the season as a result
The Celtics lack of depth was easy to spot in the first half. The Celtics trailed for the duration of the half, and despite facing a double digit deficit at times, they managed to go into the half down by only six. The score was 55-49, and Jaylen Brown and Payton Pritchard scored 35 of the Celtics points between themselves. Meanwhile no one else scored over four points, as the Celtics offense was painfully bad aside from Brown and Pritchard. It was obvious Brown would have to step up tonight, but he really deserved more help from the rest of his team.
Things weren’t much different in the second half. While the team was able to make a run back into the game, it was largely on the back of Brown and Pritchard again. Nobody else could consistently hit their shots, and the Celtics made a run back into the game largely because the Thunder cooled off from the field themselves. The game was tied up heading into the fourth, which was definitely a disappointing sight considering they were playing against the Thunder.
The momentum seemed like it had finally swung Boston’s way, but they couldn’t pull away from OKC. The Thunder would make them pay, and pulled out to an 11 point lead with under two minutes left to play, seemingly ending the game. The Celtics had seemed to be lifeless, only to reel off seven straight points in a 14 second span to bring them within striking distance again. They would bring the lead down to within two, but couldn’t find a way to tie the game, and ultimately ended up with a loss as a result.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Celtics have somehow hit a new rock bottom with this loss. Against one of the worst teams in the league, they somehow managed to look ridiculously imcompetant. Making matters even worse, the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, and New York Knicks all lost yesterday, and this was the perfect opportunity for Boston to make up some ground in the standings. Instead, they threw that opportunity away with a miserable performance, only reinforcing the feeling that this team could be in for a very short playoff run.
The two main culprits for this loss have to be Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier. They combined to shoot 8/31 from the field, including a gut wrenching 3/19 from beyond the arc. They needed to step up to help out Brown, but instead failed to contribute much of anything offensively. In fact, the team’s shooting performance as a whole was miserable, as they shot 11/49 from three as a team. Making matters even worse, most of those shots were wide open, and they were just missing very hittable shots. While Fournier actually hit a shot tonight, his production continues to fall well below what this team needs from him.
While we can hope things won’t get much worse, it would wise to not expect that from this team at this point. They play the second half of a back-to-back tomorrow night against the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow night, and in case you forgot, the Hornets just walloped Boston this past Sunday, winning by 21 points. Unless the Celtics can get some of their injured guys back, it would be wise to not get your hopes up for a Celtics victory tomorrow night.
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