The Boston Celtics got another game under their belt without Kyrie Irving on Sunday. This time, things didn’t go so well.
The Boston Celtics continued their up-and-down March by losing to the Pelicans 108-89.
Anthony Davis was unstoppable and the Celtics were certainly stoppable.
After the C’s led by 2 at half, New Orleans took control in the second half. They outscored Boston 61-40 headlined by a 22-6 run in the fourth quarter.
Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown are still sidelined. Timetables for their return are still unknown. Besides the obvious fact that the Celtics are struggling with injuries, here are four takeaways from last night’s game.
Jayson Tatum continues to shine
Through all of the injuries that have plagued the Celtics this year, one player has stayed reliable: Jayson Tatum. At only 20 years old, he is no superstar. However, he has already proven that his worst possible career would be an everyday starter on any NBA team.
With players coming in and out, Tatum has become the focal point of the offense. In the last three games without Brown or Kyrie, he is averaging 16.7 points on 15 shots a game.
Obviously, no team wants a third of their roster to go down with an injury. But for the youngster Tatum, he is making the most of his chances. This rookie season is more than anything he could have asked for from an experience and opportunity standpoint.
Greg Monroe down low
Another player that has and needs to step up is Greg Monroe. With Daniel Theis out for the year, the Celtics are extremely thin at center. Monroe has to score on a consistent basis to give the Celtics some scoring at the five spot. Aron Baynes is only out on the court to play defense and set screens.
Last night’s performance was exactly what Greg Monroe can contribute. He doesn’t need to put up 20/10 every night, put a 12/6 off the bench is fine. Too much scoring off the bench is never an issue. However, the Celtics just need to make sure they put a defender next to Monroe. There was a reason he went -25 last night.
Abdel Nader…what happened
Even though the final score shows a blowout game, the Celtics had a small chance in the fourth quarter. Down 82-76, Abdel Nader was fouled shooting a three. Then, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry got a technical foul. Nader had a chance to cut the lead to two and bring the Celtics back within one possession.
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Instead, he missed FOUR free throws in a row. The Pelicans would go on a 26-13 run to end the game.
I would say keep your head up, but maybe the only thing Nader should be doing with his head is shooting free throws. Maybe try shooting them like a dolphin hits a beach ball. Doing it the old-fashioned way certainly did not work.
Wake me up when the playoffs begin
Right now, the Celtics look like they are perfectly fine with the number two seed. Unlike last year, there will be no battle for the one seed late in the season. Sure, if the Raptors go on an eight game losing streak the Celtics will be happy to take over. But, for the time being, it almost certain that the Celtics will be sitting at number two.
The worst part about this is who they will play in the second round. If Cleveland holds on to the third seed, the Cavs will be coming to Boston in the playoffs once again. Hey, the last time LeBron James played the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs on the Cavaliers while being a free agent he had ¨The Decision¨. Who knows what will happen this time around?
The Celtics host Oklahoma City on Tuesday in primetime. Unfortunately, we should expect Kyrie to keep sitting out and a similar result to last night´s game against the Pelicans. The Boston Celtics are waiting for the playoffs, so we should too.