The Celtics keep winning, in spite of Gordon Hayward’s broken hand. Walker took the game over with a trio of late three-pointers and Brown picked up Tatum’s worst shooting night of his career. The locker room continues to view its hot start as something to build further on and not be satisfied with.
Jaylen Brown: “I’m getting old, so Javonte is taking my spot with high-flying.”
Brown scored 25 points for the second straight night since he returned from a five-game absence due to illness. He lauded Javonte Green and Rob Williams’ excitement factor, due to their dunks and athleticism. Then he realized that Green is older than him.
Marcus Smart: “I’ve been taking a beating my whole life ... I don’t know what it is, I keep getting kicked in the groin.”
Smart believed the Celtics could’ve surprised people. Now, as a starter, him and the other players feel the need to provide an extra boost. Smart did by getting low on Porzingis, putting pressure and physicality on him to help force a 1-for-11 performance.
Enes Kanter: “You miss it.”
Kanter practiced, play one-on-ones and five-on-fives to return to the Celtics after missing seven games with a knee injury. He received an ovation and his knee felt good throughout the game. Stevens opted to play him five minutes.
Luka Doncic: “I tried to attack (Tatum).”
Doncic discussed Dallas’ slow starts and the double-teams he faced.
Kemba Walker: “It’s a great record (8-1), don’t get it twisted. I’m loving it … we still have so much growth as a group, and we know that as a group.”
Walker praised the Celtics’ willingness to keep themselves in check through a hot start. Losing Hayward hurts, but he’s seen Brown and Rob Williams step up. He lauded Daniel Theis’ ability to make the game easier for everyone around him. The stinger he suffered late running into Luka Doncic won’t impact him going forward, he said.
Brad Stevens: Gordon Hayward surgery “went well ... we’re going to have to find other guys to step up.”
Stevens lauded the contributions Brad Wanamaker and Javonte Green provided in the Celtics’ eighth straight win. He added that Enes Kanter isn’t back to speed yet, and Kemba Walker’s whiplash late in the game didn’t concern him greatly. Neither did Jayson Tatum’s 1-for-18 performance, one of the worst in NBA history by a winning player. “I don’t lose sleep over missed shots.”
Rick Carlisle: “They paid a lot of attention to (Porzingis).”
Carlise lamented on a 1-for-11 night from Kristaps Porzingis, shadowed by Smart and others. He decided not to go back to him late, because it wasn’t his game.