It was not a very merry Christmas for the Celtics. They lost the game to the Wizard 111-103, just when it looked like a comeback was in the making. Again, the Celtics fell behind early and spent most of the game playing catch-up. They were able to grab a lead with about nine minutes left in the fourth. Unfortunately, they quickly saw themselves falling behind again with about 4:30 left in the game. Late free throws by John Wall and Bradley Beal sealed the game for the Wizards.
The Celtics Were Out _________
The Celtics were outplayed, and outscored in every quarter except the second. But let’s take a look at some categories that mattered:
- Free throws. They have been an ongoing struggle for Jaylen Brown especially. He was only 2-5 at the line, with Tatum also missing a pair. But in this game, my point is this: they only had 17 trips to the line compared to the Wizards 28. Big problem.
- Offensive rebounds. The Celtics only had 8 of their own, while allowing 14. Giving your opponents the opportunity for second chance points will always hurt you in the end.
- Turnovers. The Cs committed 17 turnovers compared to the Wizards 9. And although they only gave up 8 points off of those turnovers, they still created more shot opportunities for the Wizards.
- Points in the Paint. The Wizards scored a whopping 60 points in the paint— 54% of their total points scored for the night. The Cs protected the perimeter (Wizards shot 6-26 from three), but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Everyone loves Jaylen Brown. Sometimes he’ll hit a big three, or take the ball all the way to the basket. Sometimes he’ll finish off a fast break with a dunk and wow the crowd. But he’s very up and down with his scoring. I know he injured himself in the second half, but he played 32 minutes and only scored 8 points. He was 3-9 from the field, 0-5 from three and 2-5 from the line. Horford also seems to be a slightly lesser version of himself these days compared to his early season performance. Yes, he’s had some close-to-20-point nights, but the past few games haven’t been his most productive. The bench was definitely more productive than usual; the team just needed a bit more help from their starters, who were ALL (-) in the (+/-) category.
Should Celtics Fans Panic?
At 27-10, the Celtics now sit second in the eastern conference with the Cavs hot on their heels. 2017 is coming to a close, and the Cs have one more back-to back coming up. The next three opponents: @ Hornets, then home against the Rockets and Nets. Two out the three should be fairly simple, though I’m not too sure with the way they’ve played lately. In general though, I don’t think there’s a need to panic. The Cs created these unrealistic expectations with their streak, in effect spoiling Boston fans. We’re so used to winning that the feeling of losing throws us into a panic, but it’s unnecessary. There is still plenty of basketball left to play, which means there’s plenty of time to make adjustments.
The Celtics head to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Wednesday at 7:00 pm. It’s time to get back on track Boston!