‘Teams Are Going to Dare Us’: Udoka Addresses Celtics’ Major Flaw

Jayson Tatum, Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum getting advice from Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.

The losses keep piling up for Ime Udoka and his Boston Celtics team, with their latest capitulation coming at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks.

In a game that saw the Celtics shoot just 26.8% from three, Boston relied on their defense to save the day once again. Unfortunately, the Hawks had other ideas, dropping 110 points en route to an 11-point victory.

“I don’t feel we found our offense tonight, so it’s gonna be tough and put a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on your defense to be perfect when you don’t make shots, and sometimes that’s what the games comes down to. You know, several wide-open looks, shooting 11 of 42 from three, puts stress on your defense to be perfect when you’re not making those shots. We’re doing what we’ve done all year, penetrate, kick, get guys open looks, but we’re not knocking them down. We’re not going to hold guys in the ’90s every night, but we’ve got to score more than 90 ourselves,” Udoka told the media following the loss


Ime Udoka Postgame Interview | Celtics vs HawksATLANTA, GA — Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka spoke with media following Boston's 110-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Udoka wasn't too upset by the loss since the team was getting good looks, but struggled to put the ball in the hoop. "High quality shots, a lot of open looks … you have to rely…2021-11-18T03:37:28Z

For the most part, Udoka isn’t unhappy with the implementation of his offensive schemes; he’s just disappointed with the final execution.

“Disappointing, tonight from an offensive standpoint of making shots, Jayson gets going, there’s a crowd on him, guys are getting open looks, I would like to knock them down and obviously it would be a different ball game. Still not happy about the Cleveland game the other night, it could have been a much better trip, obviously. Just inconsistent overall, defensively we’ve been solid, but inconsistent offensively, and sometimes it comes down to making shots. So, we’ve got to keep working at it, encouraging them to be aggressive and confident and knock those shots down when they’re there, and that’s all you can do. We’ve talked about expected points and all that every game and expected points are very high, with the looks that we’re getting, and we don’t knock those down, it starts to wear on you mentally a little bit,” Udoka continued, as he explored the Celtics lack of scoring ability at the moment.  


Celtics Are Creating Good Shooting Opportunities

The Celtics are getting good shots, with many of them being open looks; they’re just not converting them at a clip that compliments winning basketball, which has been the case all season.

According to NBA Stats, the Celtics are indeed generating plenty of open looks.

  • 5.9 field goal attempts are very tightly contested, where the defender is within 2 feet of the ball.
  • 17.5 field goal attempts are tightly contested, where the defender is between 2 and 4 feet away.
  • 25.8 field goal attempts are open, with a defender 4 to 6 feet away.
  • And 22.1 field goal attempts are wide open, where a defender is over 6 feet away.

However, the conversion rates do not match the level of shot contest.

  • 45.5% on very tightly contested field goal attempts.
  • 48.6% on tightly contested field goal attempts
  • 41.9% on open field goal attempts.
  • 38.4% on wide-open field goal attempts.

“We’ve got to keep working at it, encouraging them to be aggressive and confident and knock those shots down when they’re there, and that’s all you can do. We’ve talked about expected points and all that every game and expected points are very high, with the looks that we’re getting, and we don’t knock those down, it starts to wear on you mentally a little bit,” Udoka told the media following another poor shooting night.


Tatum Snaps Out of Shooting Slump

Despite the Celtics’ poor shooting night, Jayson Tatum snapped out of the shooting slump that’s plagued the start of his season. Shooting 54.5% from the field and 41.7% from three, Tatum racked up 34 points to go along with his 9 rebounds and 5 assists in what was one of his best performances of the young 2021-22 NBA season.

Unfortunately, Tatum’s scoring exploits failed to rally his teammates, ensuring a loss to a well-oiled Hawks team. “We’re not where we wanna be. Obviously, we wish we could make some more shots from the top down. We’re just trying to play with more pace. More often than not, obviously, there are certain possessions that tend to happen. But I think that the more we can play with pace and get guys easier looks, we’ll knock down some shots,” Tatum said

With the Lakers next up on the docket, Tatum snapping out of his slump will be a welcomed addition to the Celtics offense. The Celtics vs. Lakers rivalry will resume on Friday, November 19th, as both teams look to kickstart their stuttering seasons.

 


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