The Boston Celtics have won nine games in a row, sitting at the top of the NBA with a 13-3 record and are showing no signs of slowing down. Here are a few takeaways after the Celtics leave New Orleans with their 13th win.
Let’s “open up the files” on the Celtics 117-109 win against the Pelicans.
It wouldn’t be right if this article didn’t start out with Derrick White’s most efficient and impressive game with Boston. He finished with 26 points, shooting 75 percent from the floor and tied his career-high with six 3-pointers made in this game. He also added in two steals and two blocks. White was everything for the Celtics last night and earned himself the player of the game.
Jaylen Brown had an impressive game and led the way for Boston. He finished with a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the floor, including his 3-pointers. JB was only three assists shy of his third career triple-double in what was a true battle of a game. Brown was all over the place on both ends and truly made his presence felt throughout the game but especially in the first and fourth quarters.
Malcolm Brogdon made his return to the court after missing the last four games with a bit of tightness in his right hamstring. Brogdon wanted to return on Wednesday in Atlanta but the Celtics felt differently and perhaps they should’ve done the same tonight in New Orleans. He finished with five points on 1-8 shooting, but he did have four rebounds and four assists, however the struggle was real in his first game back and it impacted the bench, which we’ll get into next.
During Boston’s nine game winning streak, the one consistent element for the Celtics has been their bench. In their last game against Atlanta, the bench scored 44 points between Payton Pritchard, Luke Kornet, and Sam Hauser. However they were only able to produce 15 points last night against the Pelicans. As expected, Pritchard’s usage dropped with Brogdon back in the lineup but it seems like it ruined the momentum the bench created for themselves over the last handful of games.
Jayson Tatum is a front runner for MVP this season and it’s deservingly so. However he is struggling to be consistent with his 3-pointers and it’s starting to get concerning. He is shooting 20-61 from deep in his last six games, now shooting 35.3 percent from behind the arc this season. Tatum has noticeably been wearing a heavy wrapping on his wrist and it’s drawing concern if there’s truly something severe happening with his wrist. But then he’s able to do things like this video below, so maybe he’s just in a little bit of a slump?
Al Horford continues to shine for the Celtics and it’s only going to get better when Rob Williams returns soon, but until that time comes, Al is holding things down and looking good doing so. He logged 18 points on 7-8 shooting from the field and made four 3-pointers and seven rebounds in New Orleans last night. Al is special.
Joe Mazzulla has done an exceptional job as head coach this season. He’s staying true to his own philosophies and using different strategies that we haven’t seen much of in the NBA. The thing Mazzulla has been critiqued the most on is the way he calls timeouts. He explained postgame that he enjoys when “you have to go through it as a team and build awareness as a team and know how to execute.”
The Celtics continue to play well. They scored 40 points and hit 10 3-pointers in the first quarter alone on Friday night. They’re consistently winning in a variety of ways on a nightly basis and it’s starting to set themselves apart from the rest of the league in certain ways.
These last few games have really proved how deep the Celtics roster is and their ability to do whatever is needed to win games.
We’ll see the Celtics in their next game on Monday night in Chicago.
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Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert, AP Photo