After their 1-4 west coast road trip, the Boston Celtics faced a lot of criticism. Some pointed fingers at head coach Ime Udoka, some at the players, and reports even came out that the Celtics could look to split up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown soon. It was complete anarchy. Evidently, all the team needed was one thing: a film session.
Boston bounced back against the Milwaukee Bucks last night in a big 117-102 win at home. When asked about trying to teach the team about toughness after an ugly road trip, Udoka talked about an intense film session he held in recent days:
“I had a very animated film session off of that trip, showing all five games… Didn’t love how we didn’t fight at times, and so, we put it out there. Guys responded well. But there’s no way to sweep it under the rug. You show them what it is and how ugly it looks when you see five games in a row of those clips.”
During their road trip, the Celtics had the fourth-worst defensive rating in the NBA (119.2) and allowed the fourth-most points per game (119.2). This included a 137-point performance by the Utah Jazz, a 114-point game by the LA Clippers without Paul George, and a 111-point game by the Phoenix Suns without Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Udoka and his staff showed clips of Russell Westbrook “doing his antics” in the lane, guys moving out of LeBron James’ way, as well as issues guarding Donovan Mitchell.
Multiple players commented on the lively film session. Celtics star Jayson Tatum said that there was “a lot to be talked about”:
“I mean, we came back from a 1-4 road trip, so you can imagine that there’s a lot of things to be shown, there’s a lot to be talked about. And, you know, 1-4, it wasn’t going to be pretty. And it was honest, it was direct, it was open. And it was what we needed. It wasn’t time to sugarcoat anything.”
The two-time All-Star said that the biggest issue of the road trip was not giving themselves a chance:
“You’re not going to win every game, and you can live with the ones you lose when you play the right way and give yourself a chance. But those last three, we didn’t give ourselves a chance... He showed it to us and we had to own up to it.”
Third-year forward Grant Williams was also asked about Udoka’s meeting. When asked about how animated it was, he chuckled before giving his response. Williams said that the session helped the team prepare for Milwaukee last night:
“Yeah, it was animated. He challenged guys down the line. Didn’t leave anyone off the hook. We all respect and love that. We took that to heart and came out and had a lot more fun... Guys were prepared from the jump, having great conversation, great dialogue, and then allowed that film session to carry over into today.”
Williams scored 17 points off the bench last night while shooting 5-7 from downtown. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer even credited his defense for helping turn the game in favor of Boston. However, when Tatum was asked about Williams’ shooting, he said to “not let him hear that,” because Williams apparently talks about it “every day.”
In his return, Jaylen Brown spoke about how Udoka wants to hang his hat on the defensive end, and that the team still has plenty of room to grow and improve even more on that end:
“That’s what Ime’s setting his hat on - the defensive side of things. So, for the most part, this year we’ve been good and I think that we can even get better and even be more aggressive and more physical and tough to play against.”
One win isn’t enough to change the entire narrative around the Celtics. They still need to play this way on a consistent basis. However, the “Film Session Celtics” might just be the team fans have been waiting for all season. Only time will tell.