In the NBA, whenever a top team like the Boston Celtics give a lesser team an idea they can win a game, it’s on. And when that team doesn’t match the energy, the result is losses to teams like the Orlando Magic and a team like the Phoenix Suns without their best player in Devin Booker.
No energy, going through the motions, feeling like they can just step on the court and win is a recurring them with the 2022-23 Celtics, which is a negative. The positive is they do get up for the big games and ball it out like they did in their blowout win over Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.
Is this just a team bored, are they tired or is there just a lack of interest in teams like the Magic that bring their level of play down a few notches?
Whatever it is, two-time All-Star Jaylen Brown knows there’s a problem.
"“I think they came out and outplayed us,” Brown said following the 106-94 loss to the Suns. “From start to finish for the most part. We got off to a decent start but they outplayed us. No energy, they got more shots than we did. Walking the ball up the floor with every possession. We just didn’t have the enthusiasm tonight. Just kind of going through the motions.”"
Boston Celtics missed an opportunity to put Suns away early
In jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead, it looked like the Celtics were on the verge of steamrolling the Suns right out of TD Garden. The problem is, everyone went as ice cold as the outside temperate that night. While Brown led the team with 27 points, he was 9-of-21 and Jayson Tatum was basically non-existent in that first half until the team went on a late splurge going into the half.
In all, it looked like the Boston Celtics were going to be able to turn it on and extinguish the Suns, but led by Chris Paul, they are still a veteran team who believed they can win that game and they did.
Whether its Brown or Tatum, they need to step up as the best players on the court and take over games like against the Suns, especially at home. This is not saying the team can’t lose a game once in a while, but they have to figure out how to take care of business against the teams they should beat when the three-point shot is not falling.
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At times, it seems like the team just starts launching at the offensive end instead of getting good shots with ball movement. Perhaps that is where the team is missing a player like Marcus Smart.
When it comes to shifting the energy, Brown said that is where Smart is most valuable.
"“I think Marcus is great energy to the game,” Brown said. “He brings pace to the game, he gets easier looks for our guys and defensively he had that tenaciousness that gets us going or picks us up in games like this.”"
With the depth the Boston Celtics have, they can obviously win games without Smart or any of the top players on the team. As this recent stretch in which they have gone 2-3 proves is that they eventually miss what a player like Smart brings to the table. They just must figure out ways to turn up the energy in different ways.
That’s what makes a championship caliber team along with beating the teams they should wipe the floor with.