By Patrick Whalen
And just as we think the Celtics are getting a streak rolling we are right back at it with the same inconsistencies as the Celts lost to the Jazz for the second time in a week by a score of 98-86. Having a close road loss to the Jazz is understandable, they were a playoff team last year and play very well at home but, if you’re the Celtics you can’t lose to the same team a week later on your own court.
The offense struggled mightily for the Celtics as they shot 39% from the floor and a painful 15% from 3 and 55% from the foul line (Basketball-Reference.com). That really was the only struggle the Celtics had. The defense wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad, they won the rebounding battle, they didn’t turn the ball over excessively, they just couldn’t get shots to fall.
Kyrie followed up his 43 point performance against the Raptors with a team-high 20 points on 8-16 shooting and 8 rebounds but only played 30 minutes due to foul trouble. Tatum also had 10 points on 5-11 shooting along with 7 rebounds.
The rest of the team had an abysmal night shooting led by guys like Jaylen Brown, 1-9 shooting, and Marcus Morris, 1-7 shooting. The Celtics as a team also missed 9 free throws and only shot 5-33 from 3 (Basketball-Reference.com). It was just another one of those nights where the Celtics kept settling for 3’s and long jumpers and shots weren’t falling. Normally I would say they should drive to the rack and draw fouls and get to the foul line but, even that didn’t work on Saturday.
The Jazz didn’t have a crazy night offensively. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 28 points but, if you’re the Celtics and having a difficult time shooting, you can not allow a guy like Ricky Rubio to go for 20 points. Rubio isn’t a shooter like Mitchell and you can’t allow someone like him to beat you.
Brad Stevens after the game was also not pleased with the shooting performance by the Celts, especially the free throws. One thing Brad did mention though was how this team is still trying to feel out what groups work the best with Hayward and Kyrie coming back this year and Jaylen and Jayson developing every day and still having guys like Al, Terry, Smart, and Morris that still need touches. This team will figure out these issues but they need to do it sooner rather than later because if it takes to long to get the chemistry going it could cost them a higher playoff seed if they aren’t careful. We’ll see if the Celtics can turn it around in Charlotte on Monday against Kemba Walker and the Hornets.