With new parts trying to coalesce to start this season, the Boston Celtics have learned a ton about their team identity through the first four games, especially in Wednesday night’s 116-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, in which the C’s erased a 19-point first-half deficit.
“We’re tough,” said Kemba Walker, who notched 32 points for the second consecutive game. “We’re not going to shy away when things go wrong. We’ll win as a team and we’ll lose as a team.”
The Bucks, who dispatched the C’s rather easily in five games in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals, had their way with Boston after a dreadful opening 24 minutes from the Celtics.
But the C’s displayed their resiliency, outscoring the Bucks, 74-47, in the second half.
“We can learn that we can play with anybody,” said Gordon Hayward, who continued his strong play by tallying 21 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. “Certainly we have a lot of room to grow. We haven’t put a full game together yet and we were not very good in the first half. Second half, we proved we can play with anybody, but it’s going to take a lot of effort.”
For Marcus Smart, the win resembled many the Celtics pulled out when he first came into the league when the C’s relied on working harder to beat a more talented opponent.
“It was exactly that,” said Smart, who got the start in Jaylen Brown’s absence and finished with 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. “... It was just one of those nights where we had to dig deep, deep down inside ourselves and trust one another and lean on each other to come out with this victory.”
And while Tatum didn’t spew about the character the C’s revealed in their comeback win, he did offer a sense of realism that are mainly featured in established veterans.
“This is only game four,” said the 21-year-old Tatum, who scored 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting. “We have a long way to go. We didn’t accomplish anything.”