NBA Champion Puts the Celtics on Notice With Grim Message

Richard Jefferson doesn't believe in the Celtics

Getty Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens talks with Jayson Tatum #0 during the game against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Boston Celtics just erased a 32-point deficit to knock off the San Antonio Spurs in overtime. On the back of Jayson Tatum’s 60-point explosion, the Cs registered the third-largest comeback victory the NBA has seen in 35 years. Yet, while their jaw-dropping victory will ultimately steal the headlines on Saturday — and rightfully so — the Celtics still continue to put forth uneven play on the hardwood.

To erase a deficit, you need to be in a deficit. Boston had no issue digging themselves into one against the Spurs, entering halftime down by 29 points. With 24 minutes left in regulation, Jayson Tatum accounted for exactly half of the team’s 48 points, while no other Celtic had made more than one shot.

Currently jockeying for better seeding in a uber-competitive Eastern Conference, these final eight games are extremely crucial for the Celtics who will be looking to prove their playoff chops. Unfortunately, to some, the team’s inconsistencies and lapses will be too much to overcome come crunch time.

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Richard Jefferson Does Not Believe in the Celtics

ESPN’s Richard Jefferson, who knows a thing or two about winning at the highest level — he hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2016 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers  —  doesn’t see the same winning pedigree in this season’s Celtics team.

“This Celtics team, this is not the same talented Celtics team that you’ve seen the last three or four years,” Jefferson said on ESPN’s The Jump. “And you just have to take away that and just understand that this year I don’t think it’s going to end pretty for them.“

Jefferson harped on the team’s recent showings against the Hornets and Thunder for why he lacks faith in the Celtics.

“When you watched this team even against Charlotte, the Boston Celtics, they were just a step slow and I don’t want to hear about who they didn’t have,” he noted. “Yes, they were missing Kemba Walker. Yes, they were missing Jayson Tatum. You know who they did have on the court? They had Marcus Smart, they had Jaylen Brown, who was an All-Star. They had Tristan Thompson. Payton Pritchard had a career-high. So they had guys who are contributing — Evan Fournier. So they might have had five of the top six players on the court ultimately they just didn’t have a sense of urgency and they were down 10 and they just never got it going.“

Celtics Booed at Home

As we alluded to earlier, the early parts of Friday’s game against the Spurs didn’t go quite the Celtics’ way. After a horrendous showing in the first half, the fans at TD Garden let their team hear it.

Despite turning things around against the Spurs, the team’s red-hot month of April has certainly cooled off a bit down the stretch. Since their six-game win streak was snapped by the Bulls on April 19th, Boston has dropped four of their last seven games.

Looking ahead, the Celtics will look to kickstart a new win-streak this Sunday when they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to town. When the two teams last met in mid-April, the Cs just skimmed by, notching a one-point victory. 

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