It appears that Malcolm Brogdon can accept losing, but he refuses to accept losing due to a lack of effort and hustle, which is precisely what we saw from the Boston Celtics during their December 16 loss to the Orlando Magic.
Following the contest, Brogdon appeared on NBC Sports Boston’s post-game coverage and spoke freely of his unwillingness to accept losing due to a lack of effort and stated his belief that the Celtics would look to even the score when they face Orlando on Sunday, December 18.
“They played harder. They made shots. We did not make shots that we usually make tonight. But overall, I thought they gave more effort, and I think that’s the issue. It’s not the non-shot-making; it’s the effort. We’ll pick it up on Sunday, for sure…There are no excuses…We’re a veteran team, we’re trying to win a championship here, so there are no excuses. They outplayed us tonight,” Brogdon said.
Throughout the opening months of the season, the Celtics have received high praise for their offensive approach and ability to light teams up from beyond the three-point line; however, against Orlando, the Celtics’ offense fell flat. Throughout the course of the contest, Boston shot just 23.9% from deep, on 11-of-46 shooting, and failed to adjust their game plan to attack the rim, despite their struggles from the field.
Joe Mazzulla Wants the Celtics to Focus on Defense
When speaking to the media as part of his post-game press conference, interim head coach Joe Mazzulla was candid in his response to the Celtics continuing to fire away from deep but did concede that when shots aren’t falling, Boston has to look for other avenues to impact the game.
“If you’re open, you gotta shoot it. And we’re open. So, I’m not going to tell someone that’s open not to shoot it…When we don’t shoot well, we need to find other areas to affect the game, and that starts with our defense…Even when they’re not going in, you gotta fight. Keep moving the ball and shoot it. And as far as defensively, we can get stops, get out, and get easy ones. That’s just one part of it, and I think it has more to do with our defensive stretches… Just gotta get better in that area,” Mazzulla said.
The Celtics have been improving on defense over the past few weeks and currently sit 9th in the league for defensive rating, but, Mazzulla believes that the team which dominated the league with their defensive upside last season can still find another gear.
Jayson Tatum Blames Loss on a Lack of Energy
Jayson Tatum was another member of the Celtics rotation that addressed the media following the team’s disappointing loss to the Magic, noting how he felt the team didn’t have the energy to compete with a young and hungry Orlando team.
“S***, turnovers, and missed shots. I think, in a way, we started well, but after the first seven, eight minutes, we didn’t – I feel like we kind of let turnovers and missed shots affect our play. We didn’t have much energy. And that was everybody. We had a few good plays, but we didn’t put three, four five of them together. And they got comfortable,” Tatum said.
Celtics fans will now be hoping that the team can settle the score when the face off against the Magic on Sunday and will likely be paying close attention to how the team operates on the defensive side of the ball.