The Boston Celtics took their second overtime loss in five days to the Cavaliers, bringing their record to 4-3 on the season. Despite going into overtime, this game wasn’t as close or pretty as one might perceive. Let’s get into it.
First off, the Celtics couldn’t throw a rock into the ocean on Wednesday night in Cleveland. They shot 26.8 percent as a team from behind the arc as they continued to put up 41 shots from deep and only made 11. I understand Joe Mazzulla “likes math and 3-pointers”, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to see that Boston’s numbers weren’t great from deep. They need to make this acknowledgment in the moment as a group and adjust accordingly by driving to the hoop more and using more of the shot clock.
The Celtics primarily controlled the glass and won the rebound battle for the most part on both ends of the court, which isn’t something we’ve seen too much of this season. Finishing with 52 total rebounds, eight on offense and 44 on defense. The eight offensive boards created second chance opportunities for Boston, to which, early on in the game, they had more points from those second chance opportunities than Cleveland did by 6-0.
Defensively, there was more switching going on in this game than in any of the previous six. I thought they looked great doing so and it made a difference in the game. The switching is something that they’ve steered away from to start the season but I think it’ll prove to be important as the year progresses and we’ll see more of it with the right group on the floor.
The rotation is solid, however, Mazzulla needs to improve on knowing when to make an additional substitution and utilize his full roster. We saw this same exact thing from Udoka at the beginning of last season where he didn’t utilize the full potential of his roster, which he later figured it out, and I believe Mazzulla will too. To this point, I thought we would have seen Payton Pritchard hit the floor last night as he could’ve potentially brought a little more to the table than Sam Hauser, who didn’t score or do much at all in the 10 minutes that went his way.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 56 points, led by Brown with 30 despite missing the game winner in overtime. Tatum played great when it mattered most in this game, despite having a bad shooting night. He tied the game in regulation with a HUGE dunk and then locked up Donovan Mitchell on the other end by blocking his potential game winner, thus forcing overtime.
It’s fair to say Mazzulla made adjustments from just five days ago when these two teams last played each other, which also resulted in the same way for the Celtics, in an overtime loss. Perhaps there’s still a few adjustments for Mazzulla to make and we’ll see if he does in their next game on Friday night at home against Chicago, another rematch from last week.
Some final thoughts and takeaways:
- Jayson Tatum was productive in the second half.
- Defensive switching can once again be key to success.
- Let’s see some Payton Pritchard and Blake Griffin
- Possible adjustments to starting lineup
- Marcus Smart load management
- Grant Williams continues to be impressive this season.
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