Celtics embarrassment

Fourth defeat in five games for the Celtics who also fall in Washington and certify their terrible moment. Tatum, with only 6 points, horrible.


The Celtics don't stop. In this case, to lose. The team led by Brad Stevens has added another defeat in Washington, the fourth in the last five games and the seventh in the last 11, which are those that Jayson Tatum has played since he finished a loss that lasted for five games. Identity is conspicuous by its absence, past defensive efforts are gone, and the hunger for victories, for the moment, seems to be too. Nobody hits the key, not Danny Ainge in the offices (who deserves a separate article), not Stevens on the benches. Neither do the players, weakened by the constant casualties from the coronavirus and without a regularity that they cannot find but need like eating. Kemba Walker links one bad shooting performance after another and, when he has a good performance, like today, no one accompanies him. Jaylen Brown is the light in a darkness that covers any attempt to shine and Jayson Tatum, who promised them happy and is already, in his own right, one of the biggest stars in the NBA, has entered the same dynamic as his teammates and can't find the key. It has also been the negative part against the Wizards, the worst team in the East until it has achieved a victory as unexpected as it is deserved, more by rival demerit than by virtues of its own. Now, by the way, they are ahead of the Pistons in the standings, a dubious honor. The worst in the NBA are still, of course, the Timberwolves. It could not be otherwise.

Problems in Boston are of all kinds. Regardless of the team not winning, the most obvious of all and that leads them to have a 13-13 record that is not more worrying because nobody wins in the East (and almost in the NBA), there is much to polish and little to draw from. Marcus Smart's injury has exposed the defensive problems of a team that has forgotten how to act on that side of the court without its fundamental anchor, that man who is all-hearted and who in the playoffs has the ability to maintain always afloat a personal attitude that turns into a group. Then there is Kemba Walker, who still cannot find his place in a system that is not made for him: used to playing in a very specific way for the Hornets, he does not have the ball that long in Boston, since he has to share it with Tatum and Brown. Walker has never been a great defender, but his greatest virtue was in creating his own shots, finding the spaces himself, penetrating to finish with an impressive layup and leading with the ball in his hands, not forced to a catch and shoot in the that he is not entirely comfortable or moving between the lines without a ball that Stevens has always preferred to share. What's more, some of those problems were also seen with Kyrie Irving, as much as the attitude of both players is (fortunately for the Celtics, of course), radically opposite.

And on top of that, Tatum is not in his prime (good stats, but spotty in shooting) and he does amazing performances that he mixes with gruesome nights at launch, Brown can't handle it all on his own, Carsen Edwards promised a lot and hasn't finished blooming (time to time), Jeff Teague is a shadow, and the absence of a dominant pivot, one that is worthy for the NBA and that is not Daniel Theis (who would, for example, be a great substitute in an aspirant) continues being a symptom of the structural problem facing the franchise. One that seemed like a virtue (out of commitment to the players, taking advantage of the draft ...), but he's getting too ballistic: Danny Ainge is not moving. All are untouchable for a manager who does not finish flourishing and who refuses to transfer to everything he has achieved, with great effort, in the draft. Slow and devious in the offices, he does not seem to be very inclined to make risky movements, and does not want to repeat what he already did with Kyrie, a shot that came out frog, gambling for another star who does not know if it will work for him. And there, two victories from the Finals, is where the teams that can reach and those that really do traditionally move. A very fine line that has been highlighted again with the rumors that James Harden may have arrived but that Ainge said no to everything and called the entire staff of his staff untouchable.

Against the Wizards, Boston repeated a loss that was already embarrassing in the previous game, against the Pistons, and has now doubled the ridicule. The locals won the game as if they had been doing it their whole lives, and that is only their seventh victory of the season: 29-22 in the first quarter, 55-43 at halftime (yes, the Celtics scored only 22 and 21 points in his first two quarters), 89-67 at the end of the third period and relaxation at the end, with nothing to lose (or gain, in his case), for a final result of 104-91. Boston did not exceed 25 points in any of the four quarters, shot 35.6% from the field, scored only 9 3-pointers of 35 attempts and lost a total of 17 balls, a slab too big to even win a game. against one of the worst teams in the NBA. And the game, of course, was already sentenced when the last period was entered, which caused Tatum to only play 23 minutes, but each and every one worse than the previous one: 6 points (his lowest score of the season), 8 rebounds and 4 assists, with 1 steal but two losses. Of course, completely sterile, horrendous in the shot (3 of 14, with 0 of 2 in triples and missing the only free throw he tried) and with a -20 on the court.

It was the general trend. Kemba played well (25 points with 9 of 18 shooting and 4 of 7 on triples), but lost 5 balls. Jaylen had another 25 goals, but lost the same balls as his teammate. And, apart from those two players (50 points between them), neither surpassed the 6 points that Tatum turned into an insurmountable ceiling. And in the Wizards, the usual string of Bradley Beal (35 points, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists), Westbrook poorly shot (6 of 19, the other day he became the player with the worst percentage in history to reach the 1,000 triples) but fooling around with the triple-double (13 + 9 + 11 at the end), very little from Bertans (8 + 8, great contract and few green shoots) and some from Wagner (11), Hachimura (15), Avdija (8 + 10) or Robin Lopez (other 10). A victory that in the Wizards is useless beyond delving into the wound of a team adrift and desperately seeking to find itself to face the remainder of a season that is already advanced and to which they have always arrived well. at the end. Meanwhile, one day to forget, another this season for a team that was two victories away from the Finals, which has a fantastic coach, a luxury secondary, good defenders, a squad that is still young and wilted, a manager respected. But, but, but ...

Photos from as.com
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