By Patrick Whalen
Yes ladies and gentlemen for about the 5th time this season the Celtics have rebounded from a bad loss with a big road win, this time against the New Orleans Pelicans. With a 124-107 win over the Pelicans the Celtics now move to 11-10 on the season. The Celtics did get a boost tonight off the bench with Gordon Hayward returing after a 1 game absence. Jaylen Brown on the other hand was out tonight with a tail bone injury. With Brown out this left Brad with another lineup decision and he decided to go with the two Marcus’ with Tatum, Kyrie, and Al. For Morris is was his second consecutive start while this was Smart’s first start of the season.
The Celtics got off to a roaring start tonight as they jumped out to a 13 point lead in the first quarter. The Celtic defense got them going early and often on the fast break.
The Celtics offense was propelled by having 5 in double figures, including 3 with 20+. Kyrie led the way tonight with 26 points on 10-22 shooting including 5-10 from three to go along with 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals. Tatum and Al both went for 20 each, Morris had 19 points and Terry had 14 off the bench. The boys shot lights out as a team shooting 50% from the field and 49% from 3 (Basketball-Reference.com). But the Celtic with the biggest impact of the night wasn’t the leader in points or assists but he gave the team the attitude on defense that they needed to try and get the Celtics edge back. Yes, Marcus Smart, who only had 8 points and 5 assists, was the big impact player for the Celtics tonight. His toughness and hustle is exactly what Brad wanted to see out of him in the starting line up which is what led to Smart playing a whopping 40 minutes. Smart’s edge and toughness is exactly what the Celtics need more of out on the floor. Like Smart said after last game, “teams aren’t scared to play us anymore and we need to get back to having teams scared to play us.”
The Celtics defense did about as good as they could against Anthony Davis as he had only 27 points and 16 rebounds. Mirotic also had a good night with 25 points but after that the Celtics defense was able to contain the rest of the Pelicans. As a team they held the Pelicans to 44% shooting and 38% from three and the defesne also had 14 steals and forced 22 turnovers. Another great sign was that despite Davis’ 16 rebounds the Celtics still won the rebounding battle (Basketball-Reference.com). This was probably one of the best efforts from the Celtics this year, a full 48 minutes complete game. Obviuosly we’d still like to see the defense improve a little and stop allowing over 100 points but when the team was shooting lights out like tonight they could afford it. Besides the great team play we also got to see Hayward throw down a massive jam.
Also before tonights game there was much buzz about how the Pelicans star Anthony Davis said he would accept a trade to the Celtics. This rumor set Celtics twitter a blaze with trade proposals. Chris Forsberg thankful put all this buzz to bed during pregame as explained the Rose Rule which would profitbit the Celts from trading for Davis unless they include Kyrie Irving in the package due to salary restraints. But don’t worry folks once the offseason hits and Kyrie signs his new deal we can let the AD trade twitter buzz reignite.
The Celts will have a couple of days off before their next matchup at home against the Cavs which is a must win game to try and keep this team on track and potentially get a win streak rolling. The Cavs did make a move today benefiting the Celtics as they sent Kyle Korver to the Jazz, making the Cleveland bench that much weaker. Hopefully betwen that subtraction and a potential return from Jaylen Brown the Celtics can get back to bakc wins and start that long win streak we have all desperatly been hoping for.