Celtics ‘relaxed a bit’ once they came upon Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was out


After a four-game win streak to shut out 2022, the Boston Celtics have faltered to begin the brand new yr. They misplaced their first sport of the yr to the Denver Nuggets, however their Tuesday-night loss to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder was a bit extra emphatic.

Oklahoma Metropolis put up a franchise report 150 factors, all with out star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And that was the issue. In line with Malcolm Brogdon, when the Celtics came upon Gilgeous-Alexander could be out, they relaxed a bit.

“We took a deep breath and relaxed. Actually, we should always know higher than to return out and never play with aggression, not play with vitality and urgency.”

Defensively, the Celtics rolled over. As famous by Brogdon, there was a extreme lack of urgency proven by the Celtics, particularly on protection, and it allowed an in any other case lackluster Thunder offense to place up unimaginable numbers.

Heading into the competition, the Thunder ranked twenty fourth within the league with a 110.5 offensive score, and just one participant on the crew was averaging over 15 factors — the absent Gilgeous-Alexander. However Boston’s pre-game leisure gave Oklahoma Metropolis sufficient respiratory room to place up record-setting numbers. 5 gamers scored 20 or extra factors, a feat that hadn’t occurred since 2019 (when it was additionally completed by the Thunder).

It was an unpleasant efficiency from begin to end, however head coach Joe Mazzulla, ever the optimist, continued his development of positivity.

“Will not be the most well-liked factor to say, however you gotta undergo some s*** if you wish to get to the place you need to get to, whether or not it’s good or unhealthy, and that’s simply how it’s. And so we’ve got to undergo it and we’ll be judged by how we deal with it.”

However even Mazzulla, who has been adamant in regards to the significance of studying from losses and chronic in his optimism, was shocked after Tuesday evening’s outing. “I didn’t imply that unhealthy,” he stated.

Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 29 factors, with Jayson Tatum not far behind at 27, however their offensive presence didn’t come shut to creating up for his or her defensive lapses. Each single Thunder starter cracked double digits, and two extra gamers off the bench managed to pour in 20 or extra.

The Celtics had been making some defensive progress within the month of December. Over the course of the month, they had been the second-best protection within the league (107.2 DRTG) and had climbed as much as seventh total on the season (110.4 DRTG). However via the primary few days of 2023, their defensive score has been 130.6.

Now, Boston will flip their consideration towards the Dallas Mavericks, who they’re set to face on Friday, January 5. The Mavericks will enter the competition ranked sixth in offense (115.3 ORTG) and seventeenth in protection (113.1 DRTG); nevertheless, the Mavericks are on a 7-game win streak and shall be already be smelling blood within the water, so Boston might want to deliver their A-game in the event that they need to notch their first win of 2023 on the third time of asking.



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