The Boston Celtics ended their trip with a devastating loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, falling 127-112.
Five takes until the Celtics found a new bottom.
The Celtics had nothing left.
Like it or not, one thing seemed perfectly clear: the Celts were exhausted both physically and mentally. After Atlanta threw hay in the first half, Boston had nothing left in the response tank.
And yet, as Brad Stevens put it: “We may have won tonight anyway, because sometimes you get hit by a wave of haymaking in the NBA, like these guys did to us tonight, but we could be in a better position if we we played better. ”
A very short rally in the third quarter fell on his face when Atlanta again buried a series of 3 points and pushed the lead back. By the fourth quarter, the Celtics bench was in. It felt like this would have been an acceptable substitution much earlier, perhaps around the time of the second quarter when Danilo Galinari broke a 3-point close to the logo ̵
After losing to the Mavericks on Tuesday, Jason Tatum sighed wearily.
“I mean, s—, we have a game tomorrow,” he said. “Just try to move on to the next one. That’s all you can do. “
After Wednesday’s game, the same message sounds true.
Sometimes the shooters get hot (and this season 3-pointers decide the games).
The difference between wins and losses this season seems to be falling apart in the line of 3-point scorers, and Atlanta destroyed Boston behind the arc on Wednesday – ahead of the Celtics 54.8% to 25.8%.
Young, of course, went up with 33 points in a 12-for-23 shot and led the Atlanta attack, but the real difference was Galinari, who hit 10 of his 12 attempts for 3 points and finished with 38 points.
The Celtics had four double-digit starters (Jalen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague and Jason Tatum), but Brown and Tatum finished 17th and 13th respectively. Against the Hawks’ offensive attack, Boston needed much more than its stars. It was a familiar refrain this season.
Boston’s youth continued to bring energy.
Aaron Nesmith finished with 13 points in a 5 to 7 shot. Rob Williams re-posted a few highlights. The youngest Celtics players are not ready to help make Boston a good team, being reliable role players, but they have presented some solid performances.
What it means to move forward is unclear. In particular, Nesmith and Williams won more minutes, but the Celtics could not find victories. This is a difficult equation to solve.
Calls for change will only increase.
Celtics fans are calling for deals, for layoffs, for anything that could bring the Celtics closer to respect.
These talks will only increase after the debate on Wednesday, but it is not clear what exactly the Celtics can do. Tatum and Brown are, of course, untouchable. Others on the team could certainly be sent, but while rookies like Nesmith and Peyton Pritchard show lightning, and while Rob Williams looks like a real player now, they probably won’t offer a draw that could change Boston’s condition this season.
Meanwhile, as Grousbeck noted at 98.5 Sports Hub earlier Wednesday, the dismissal of Stevens or Ainge will immediately make them the best options on the free market. They are both talented in their work, which makes the current situation of the team even more confusing and irritating.
Stevens was asked if his message was being circulated to players.
“I’d say what I’m saying to you and everyone else is not what I’m saying in the locker room, not necessarily,” Stevens said. “And how do you say it’s certainly very important and I’ve had moments. Let’s put it this way. However, I think this team seems to be balancing at the moment to play uncertainly and uncertainly with the fact that we have a pair that has slipped away. So, the only way I know how to get it back is to dive to the floor, take a taxi, sprint to help my teammates, fight for every possession. And this is our accusation. …
“Listen, none of us are happy with the work we’ve done, and I should be at the top of this list with where we are.”
Something is going on.
We can’t say exactly what the Celtics are suffering from. Their violation is stagnant. Their protection cannot stop anyone. Opposing stars go wherever they want to go and take whatever pictures they want to take.
And yet the Celtics still have a lot of talent. This is a confusing situation that really cannot be conveniently explained.
Maybe Jason Tatum is still dealing with COVID. Maybe Kemba Walker will get together at some point. Maybe none of these things come together and the team keeps stopping.
“It can’t get any worse than that,” Kemba Walker said 10 days ago after the Celtics lost to the Washington Wizards.
Obviously Walker was wrong at the time. Worryingly, it may still not be true.
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