With just a few games left in the regular season, the Boston Celtics are looking to round into form with hopes of making a deep playoff run. They went through a bit of a rough patch coming out of the All-Star break, but lately, they seem to have turned things back around.
On Friday night, they took care of business against the Utah Jazz, who, just a few games prior, came back from down 19 points to beat Boston. While Jayson Tatum led the way in the scoring column, it was Blake Griffin who provided the team with a much-needed spark. After the game, head coach Joe Mazzulla gave credit to Griffin.
“We were creating just enough chaos,” Mazzulla said via NBC Sports Boston. “I thought it was important. We needed that. We needed something to enhance our focus and our energy for the last five minutes. So, I thought Blake provided that. Once we took the time out, it was more about finishing the game. Blake’s in that category where anytime we call his name, he brings a physicality and a joy and an energy that feeds off our team, and our team feeds off of it.”
Griffin got into a few scuffles with a few different members of the Jazz. The highlight of them all was when he grabbed the ball from Kris Dunn late in the game after Dunn fouled Marcus Smart. When Dunn pushed Griffin, the Celtics forward laughed in his face.
As for his statistical impact, it was there, but his main focus was providing the team with energy. Griffin ended the game with six points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 1-of-5 shooting from the field and 0-of-2 shooting from deep.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Discusses Celtics Loss
Boston’s win over the Jazz followed a dominant 41-point victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. After that game, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sounded off on what went wrong for Milwaukee.
“Know what the deal is? It’s not hard to understand,” Antetokounmpo said via CLNS Media. “If you you’re not focused. If you don’t play hard, they’re gonna kick ass, simple as that. They did it tonight and won by 40. If you’re not locked in, if you don’t play hard, and if don’t go out there to make it tough for them, they’re gonna kick out ass. Simple as that. There’s no level of concern. It’s a fact. So now you have this in your head. And this is up to us to see how we’re gonna deal with it. Are we gonna go and play the same way? And if we play the same way, gonna have the same outcome. Gotta change some stuff. We gotta compete. Gotta have some pride, you know, and hopefully, we can do that; then, if we do that, we have a chance to win.”
Mike Budenholzer Sends Message on Celtics
In addition, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer also had something to say after losing to Boston.
“I mean, they execute,” Budenholzer said via CLNS Media. “They cut hard, they screen hard, and they shoot them off the dribble. That’s probably the biggest thing. So, we got to look at it; we got to find a way to be better against the three-point line.”