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By Patrick Whalen
The Celtics end their 5 game road trip with another frustrating loss in Portland by a score of 100-94. The Celtics finished their trip at 1-4 and now are 7-6 overall. The issue for the Celts again was digging themselves into a hole again as they trailed by 17 points at the half. Again poor first half shooting was a cause as the Celtics only shot 37% from the field and 18% from 3 in the first half (Basketball-Reference.com). And again the Celtics struggled again defensively until the fourth quarter when they were trying to dig themselves out of the hole they dug early on in the game. In the second half, the Celtics did shoot a higher percentage from three but became 3 happy trying to dig themselves out of the hole as they shot 31 threes in the second half. It’s been frustrating to see the same issues continue to come up game after game.
The Celtics did get Kyrie back for this game after his one-game absence and he did have 21 points but struggled shooting only going 9-24 from the field. Offensively Tatum was the go-to guy the other night as he had 27 points on 50% shooting with 56% from three (Basketball-Reference.com). The rest of the starters had off nights as Al Horford had 10 points while Hayward and Jaylen each only had 7 points. The bench also struggled mightily the other night as Marcus Morris had 13 and Terry had 7 points and then Smart, Theis, and Baynes combined for 2 points.
The Celtic defense meanwhile allowed not one but two double-doubles as Damian Lillard went for 19 points and 12 assists while Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 17 rebounds. Along with those two the Celtics also allowed for CJ McCollum to get 14 and Aminu to get 11 points and 9 boards (Basketball-Reference.com). Over the last 5 games its constantly been the same issues that the Celtics haven’t been able to correct, going down big early, getting outrebounded, settling for shots, and not playing intense defense.
Also on another note am I the only person who finds it odd that the Celtics played the entire first half shooting on a hoop that was supposedly not level. Like does anyone else find it odd how the refs or team employees couldn’t recognize it until halftime? Like somebody please explain to me how this stuff isn’t checked pregame. Portland DO YOUR JOB- Bill Belichick.
After the game, Kyrie said that he would like it if the Celtics signed another 14 or 15-year vet to help the young core (Adam Himmelsbach). Adding a veteran, in my opinion, could benefit this team especially with the three normal DNPs having a combined 2 years of NBA experience. After Kyrie said this everyone immediately connected Melo and Houston looking like it might end soon to him being the guy Kyrie was talking about. People Melo is the last thing this team needs, we need a vet who could maybe help out with defense and ball movement, not an iso player who hasn’t played defense ever. My suggestion if the Celtics were to sign someone would be Corey Brewer who is known for his defensive abilities and could help the guards and wings with their defense.
The Celtics are finally returning home on Wednesday as they’ll take on a young Bulls squad. Let’s hope that the 2 days off has allowed for the team to get some needed rest along with regaining focus. Home court advantage should also help the Celtics as they try and right the ship.