Romy Nehme: The Celtics were bound to lose eventually, right? This one felt like the right one to falter; a blowout featuring absurd shot-making (Waiters) and an overall apathetic performance from the Cs that would lead to strong teachable moments, which would hopefully curb the Celtics' bad habit of trailing big before staging dramatic comebacks. But then, it happened. AGAIN.
These pestilent Celtics, behind the mystical powers of one Marcus Smart, completely turned around the dynamics of the game with their usual alchemy of deflections, timely 3s and determined drives. Down 89-91, Celtics fans thought they could telegraph what would happen next. We've been spoiled, after all. But this one had a different resolution (one littered with late game blunders and questionable foul calls).
So, is there anything to take away from this except that the streak had to inevitably end? Perhaps. In the three games following his concussion, Horford played superbly, after which he said that the time off made him wiser to the different ways in which he could help.
The following three games have been a different tale -- almost as though Kyrie's revelatory play has shifted the focus away from Horford's immeasurable contributions on offense. It's not the shot attempts, as much as seeing fewer touches after setting screens, and as a result playing more of a peripheral role (the entire team had 25 fewer touches than it’s averaged this season as the offense was generally sticky and that much more predictable).
The vaunted 2-man game seems to have given way to the blistering one-man game. Kyrie's offensive game finally has that rhythm and unfair ease we've all gawked at in the playoffs, and that's absolutely a positive. Stevens will find a way to use that, while recalibrating the balanced approach that made the Celtics not infallible, but unbeatable during the 16 game winning streak. Expect the Cs to look sharp out of the gate against Orlando, and for Horford to be more of an offensive conduit early to nip this mini slump in the bud.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone; this team has been a true joy to cheer for and celebrate!