Speaking to the media following the Boston Celtics‘ first defeat of the season on October 24, Al Horford was vocal about the team’s struggles on the defensive glass.
“We have to be better (at rebounding), the way that we’re playing now, we’re playing with four guards out there, trying to play fast and do things. It’s an understanding that everybody has to get in there and rebound, especially when we’re cross-matched…We have to find a way to come up with them (rebounds) because that’s the way we’re gonna be able to play that style,” Horford said.
Unfortunately, until Robert Williams returns from injury, the Celtics are going to be hard-pressed to match teams that go with big rotations, and as such, will need to operate with a hive mentality.
Marcus Smart Challenges Teammates to Stay Consistent
A significant part of Boston’s demise against the Bulls was how their intensity waned once the game stopped going in their favor. Unlike the Celtics from last season, Boston allowed their struggles to bleed into their defensive efforts and quickly paid the price.
When speaking to the media in his post-game press conference, Marcus Smart urged his teammates to remain consistent in the face of adversity – just as they did last season.
“We took our foot off the gas. They started making shots, we started missing shots, and it affected us on the defensive end. We can’t have that. No matter whether we’re making shots or not, we’ve gotta stay consistent on the defensive end…This is a good test for us, we’ve just got to respond,” Smart said.
Throughout the contest, Smart was one of Boston’s better performers, consistently looking to move the ball, and defending at a high level. In 32 minutes of gameplay, the Oklahoma native averaged 11 points, six assists, one rebound, two steals, and two blocks while shooting 66.7% from the field and 60% from three-point range on three-of-five shooting.
Tatum Focused on More Than One Game
Boston may have lost their first game of the season, but it’s important to keep things in perspective, especially after just four games. With an 82-game schedule, it’s hard to envision any team remaining undefeated, there’s simply too much travel and too little rest between games.
It would seem that Jayson Tatum is operating under a similar mindset, as during his post-game press conference, he explained how he’s keeping the loss in perspective and that the season will undoubtedly be full of twists and turns.
“I’m just being honest – there’s 82 games plus the playoffs, there are going to be nights like this. You just wanna have, more often than not, you keep your composure because we’re all human,” Tatum said
Despite the loss, Tatum continued the exceptional start to the new season which saw him named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, dropping 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists while shooting 50% from three-point range and 44.4% from the field. Now, he and the Celtics will have three days rest before facing off against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, October 28.