The Boston Celtics dropped their second game of the season on Friday night, losing 132-123 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In what was yet another disappointing defensive performance, they gave up more than 115 points for the fourth time this year (in just five games).
Despite that, Jaylen Brown isn’t too concerned. He said that the Celtics just have to re-focus.
“It’s on us,” Brown said. “We gotta come out, and those are all controllable things. So, we’re not concerned. I think that we’ve done it before and we can do it again. It’s just re-locking in, re-focusing, and emphasizing on things that we should be prioritizing right now.”
Brown ended the game with 32 points, eight rebounds, and four assists on 11-for-22 shooting from the field and 2-of-7 shooting from deep.
Celtics ‘Just Have to Execute’
Head coach Joe Mazzulla also chimed in on the potential defensive issues, mimicking Brown’s response. He said that they “just have to execute.”
“I think we just have to execute,” Mazzulla said. “I don’t know if it’s a trend or an issue. I thought – we were winning the game. And so, we had a chance to win the game, we didn’t close out certain possessions. So, I don’t know if it’s as much of an issue as it is just being more consistent on both ends of the floor and not relaxing. And just understanding, we have to earn every win. So, I think that’s what the focus is.”
The Cavaliers were without All-Star point guard Darius Garland, but their backcourt still led the way against Boston. Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert each poured in 41 points, combining to shoot a red-hot 27-of-47 from the field. However, the Cavaliers’ big men were also an issue.
After the game, Brown said that rebounding is an area of the game Boston needs to focus on.
“Right now, like you said, some of those offensive rebounds, some of them were weird bounces, and some of them were not,” Brown explained. “We gotta be first to the glass and get the ball. We got some different lineups out there, but we can’t let that be an excuse. We gotta not let teams get second-chance opportunities, and we let them get a lot of second-chance opportunities, especially late in the game.”
The Cavaliers ended the night with 42 rebounds to Boston’s 34, with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley pulling down 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Cleveland also out-rebounded the Celtics on the offensive glass nine to five.
Celtics Still Confident in Defense
Jayson Tatum also had something to say about Boston’s defense, and just like Mazzulla and Brown, he’s still confident. He said that they know how great they can be on defense, they just have to get back there.
“We know the level of defense that we can play as a unit,” said Tatum. “Then it’s just about finding ourselves and getting back to that place.”
With just one day of rest until their next game, the Celtics will have to get back on track in a short period of time. They take on the Washington Wizards on Sunday, October 30, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.