The Boston Celtics lost a tough game to the Philadelphia 76ers last night. Joel Embiid dominated on a night where the C’s were down to only two bigs, Enes Kanter and Bruno Fernando. The loss dropped the C’s back down below .500 (again).
Boston has been hovering just above or below that record for most of the season, as have a lot of teams in the Eastern Conference. They now sit at ninth in the East, with the difference between 6th and 11th seed being just one game. That being said, a lot of fans are getting frustrated.
Celtics fans have been spoiled by greatness over the years, so they’ve come to expect nothing less. While this team has struggled, Jaylen Brown emphasized the fact that he still believes in them.
“Do I believe? Absolutely, absolutely. No question, I think that’s an obvious answer for me. I know people are tired of hearing it and people probably have lost belief and faith, but mine is unwavering.”
Brown was asked specifically about whether or not they can break out of the “one step forward, one step back” funk they are in. He noted that he thinks the C’s can still be a good team this year. With his own recovery and the number of COVID-related absences, things have been tough, but there’s over half a season to go and few teams have really separated from the pack.
“I think that we still can be a good team. I think that we’ve shown it in spurts. I’ve been out for an extended point in time. I’m trying to get back. We got guys out, COVID. It’s not an excuse or anything, other teams do as well, but, if the question is, you ask, ‘do I still believe?’ 100 percent, regardless of if anybody else does or not.”
Since returning from injury (the second time around), Brown has averaged 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from deep. This includes his 30-point performance against the 76ers last night.
Despite the COVID issues the Celtics are currently dealing with, Brown acknowledged that there is no room for excuses. He said that there needs to be a sense of urgency every game and that the C’s have to bring the same energy every night.
“It’s a long season, but that doesn’t negate that there is a sense of urgency that still needs to be brought every single night. That’s something that we got to continue to set the tone on. We had so many excuses that we were making tonight - it was cold in the arena, the fire alarm kind of slowed everything down, a lot of guys out - like, who cares? We just got to come out and find a way to bring energy, set the tone, and have a sense of urgency.”
With Boston’s treacherous month of December coming to a close shortly, the C’s are currently 4-6 that included a disastrous west coast road trip and mixed results at home. They have a few tough games remaining in the calendar year, but if the team can rally behind Brown’s words and faith, that would be a solid foundation to build upon as the league navigates COVID and front offices face the February trade deadline.