Coming off their Japanese Convention finals end a season in the past, the Boston Celtics are nonetheless searching for a win in opposition to one of many league’s top-tier groups.
Tuesday night time’s 117-109 loss at house to the Jazz marked Boston’s eighth loss in as many video games in opposition to the groups with the NBA’s prime 5 information (the Jazz, Nets, Suns, Sixers and Lakers).
The Celtics get a reprieve of types beginning with Wednesday’s highway recreation in opposition to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In opposition to Utah, Jayson Tatum completed with 29 factors and Jaylen Brown had 28, however the Celtics light down the stretch in opposition to a sharpshooting Jazz squad that made 19 3-pointers.
Donovan Mitchell hit essentially the most essential triple to place the Jazz forward 107-101 with 1:04 left. He completed with 21 factors.
The Celtics’ two losses of their three video games for the reason that All-Star break have come in opposition to Brooklyn and Utah.
“Clearly these are two actually good groups and we really feel like we will compete, particularly when it comes right down to the tip,” Brown stated. “However we have nonetheless bought a number of progress to do. I believed we performed an excellent recreation, however we simply wanted just a little extra vitality, just a little extra oomph.”
Boston will not be going through any of these prime squads over its subsequent 4 video games. None of these opponents — Cleveland, Sacramento Orlando and Memphis – have greater than 17 wins.
The Celtics, who performed with out middle Tristan Thompson on Tuesday because of the NBA’s well being and security protocols, want to search out the suitable formulation to make one other deep playoff push.
“(I am) much less involved with Brooklyn and Utah and making an attempt to catch them, and extra about simply making an attempt to be the very best model of ourselves,” Brown stated.
Fueled by Brown’s 33 factors, Boston led by as many as 41 in a 141-103 win over the Cavaliers in Boston on Jan. 24. In that recreation, the Celtics shot 55.9 p.c, together with 14-for-28 from 3-point vary.
The Cavaliers may also be taking part in their second recreation of a back-to-back Wednesday. Cleveland is coming off a 113-98 loss at Miami — their fourth consecutive defeat following a four-game successful streak. Earlier than that, the Cavaliers had misplaced 10 in a row.
Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 21 factors and JaVale McGee had 16 factors and eight rebounds in 21 minutes whereas taking pictures 8-for-10 from the sphere.
“I believed his vitality was nice,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff stated. “I believed he used his measurement effectively on each ends of the ground. He was in a position to catch and end shortly and put a ton of strain on the paint. He led the staff tonight, and that is an important factor.”
The Cavaliers shot 10-for-35 from 3-point vary in opposition to the Warmth and went 2-for-18 within the first half.
“You possibly can play actually good protection, you’ll find the additional man, you are able to do all of the stuff you are alleged to do,” Larry Nance Jr. stated. “If we’re getting beauty and never making them, that is a difficulty in itself. We’re producing stable appears. Simply bought to begin knocking them down, actually.”
Cleveland’s Kevin Love sat out in opposition to Miami with proper calf soreness. Love performed 10 minutes in opposition to New Orleans on Friday and left Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Hawks after lower than two minutes. Love has performed in solely 4 video games this season.
Boston’s Romeo Langford remained in well being and security protocols for the third consecutive recreation.
–Area Stage Media