The Boston Celtics are looking to make a push for a championship, but in the past few weeks, they have shown some dangerous signs of regression. They have lost five of their last eight games, and in three of those games, they were up by double digits at one point.
However, their most recent loss to the Houston Rockets was extremely rough, too. As things stand, the Rockets have one of the worst records in the NBA, yet the Celtics failed to gain any sort of momentum for the entire game. And to cap it off, with the chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, Jayson Tatum missed a layup – a major blunder in a game they should have been winning in the first place.
He spoke about the play after the game.
“I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory,” Tatum said via NBC Sports Boston. “I got it, got down the lane, and just kind of missed the layup. What you saw is potentially what happened.”
Boston failed to get into any sort of offensive rhythm throughout the course of the game, and to make matters worse, they were allowing the Rockets to get easy looks. It was the perfect storm for them to lose the game.
They did their best to make a comeback attempt in the fleeting moments of the contest, but Tatum’s failed layup attempt ended up costing them a chance to go to overtime and steal a win in a game that they were losing for the majority of the contest.
Tatum ended the night with decent stats, but he was very inefficient. He put up 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on 8-of-22 shooting from the field and 2-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Marcus Smart Puts Celtics on Notice
During the Celtics recent three-game losing streak that saw them blow three double-digit leads, Marcus Smart put the team on notice. He urged them to play with more urgency, as they had been struggling with their intensity levels, causing them to ease up and lose games.
“Just play harder. You know, we got to play harder,” Smart said via Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston. “Teams are coming in here and out toughing us, you know, and that’s one thing we try to pride ourselves on. Especially early on in the season was, you know, being the tougher team, and right now we’re not and teams are coming in and out-toughing us. So, I feel fixing that will fix a lot of things. Having that tough mentality coming back in and, you know, throwing the first punch, and if you do get hit, hit back and get up and everything else will start kind of slowly coming back together.”
Robert Williams Key to Celtics Success
Boston now has to worry about the postseason, despite their struggles. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, Robert Williams is the key to the team’s success this year.
“A strained hamstring has caused starting center Robert Williams III to miss four games and counting, and the defensive anchor has suited up just 28 times all season while missing the first few months because of knee surgery,” Swartz wrote. “His (hopefully) imminent return will be needed to help give Boston a chance at reclaiming the No. 1 seed.”