Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens vented his disappointment in his team after its near 23-point comeback fell short against superstar Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday night at TD Garden.
It’s a pattern Stevens is all too familiar with this season. Once again, the Celtics allowed their opponent to leap out to an early first-half lead before they playing catch-up throughout the second half where they met their inevitable demise — a 113-108 loss.
It’s a storyline that Stevens is all too familiar with, this year. It was similar to what we saw earlier this week after All-Star Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans grabbed a 17-point lead before the Celtics rallied.
They managed to make it a one-possession game (110-107) after Jayson Tatum drained a step-back jumper with only 50.5 seconds left to play. But in the end, a dagger from Williamson buried the Celtics for good, and against the Mavs at TD Garden, Wednesday night, the final nail(s) came from Doncic.
He was masterful. Luka netted 36 points on 11-of-15 attempts, including 3-of-7 from deep, and his 31-foot 3-pointer, in it of itself — at the 2:53 mark (104-95) in the final frame — made the game feel as if it was over but the Celtics, as they typically do, hung around for the ending.
Brad Stevens On The 2020-21 Celtics: ‘We Let Adversity Take Us Out Of What We’re Doing’
No, Boston won’t roll over and die as easily as do most other under .500 teams when in the midst of a 20+ point hole. However, it’s what makes losing in such a manner that’s difficult to stomach, as Stevens pointed out during his media availability.
The Celtics — 23-25 — remain stuck in their own way.
“The most frustrating part is: we let adversity take us out of what we’re doing for too long,” Stevens said after Wednesday’s loss against the Dallas Mavericks. “You know, Luka goes on his run, and instead of coming back again — it was just like the other night. He comes down, he just hit an impossible shot; you tip your cap, come down and be even more focused to get a great shot on offense, right? Same thing. It’s just the same old story — 12-minute droughts because we don’t respond. And then, we pick ourselves up and we got a big deficit and I’m not crazy enough to think you can always play that way because it’s easy to play when you’re down.
“The other team’s got all the pressure in the world when they’re up 23 with six minutes left in the third; you’re just playing free but we have to respond better in the middle of the game and we just haven’t — that’s the bottom line.”
Brad Stevens On What’s Satisfied Him: ‘There Isn’t Anything’
Now, more than ever is time for them to get themselves out of this rigorous pattern, otherwise, there won’t be much of a regular season left to save.
“It’s not time to dream about the future — it’s time to do it now,” Stevens said. “We need to play better. We need to show up and compete every night with great urgency all the way through the game, regardless of what just happened and so I don’t really care about the future and I don’t really care about the first 48 games. What are we going to do? and that’s the question. It’s time to show up.”
When Brad was asked if there’s anything about the team that’s satisfied him, the Celtics head coach was at a loss for words.
“If anything?” Stevens asked. “Yeah, if anything… There isn’t anything.”
What’s next for the Celtics?
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