Just one game after an ugly loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics have done it again. They were defeated by the Minnesota Timberwolves last night in what very well may have been their worst loss of the season. The C’s were without Jayson Tatum, but Minnesota’s absences were far more extensive.
The most common Timberwolves starting lineup this season has been Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Karl-Anthony Towns. None of them played last night.
After the game, Ime Udoka was asked about what he told the team after the loss. He kept things blunt.
“One of the poorest losses of the year. A team that is depleted as we are just out-hustled us late in the game. And very undisciplined effort overall.”
Considering the number of blown leads the C’s have given up this season, saying that last night was one of the poorest losses of the season is no joke. Boston looked out of place on both ends of the floor against a Timberwolves team that was even more gutted than they were.
When talking about the specific areas that caused the collapse, Udoka pointed to the team’s poor defense. They gave up a 34-point fourth quarter, allowing the Timberwolves to shoot 63.2 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from deep.
“Undisciplined defensively. Off-ball switching was an issue we got carved up there, something we’ve been doing decent-to-well all year. And lack of communication there, so defensively that hurt. Undisciplined shot-taking as well… The off-ball defense was glaring.”
And for those getting on Udoka’s back for never taking responsibility, he made sure to do that tonight. He said that the entire team did a poor job with this game.
“Just poor overall job coaching, playing, getting ready for this game. Understanding what we need to do to win.”
Udoka said that getting “carved up the way we did tonight was embarrassing.” The depleted Timberwolves had their way with a Celtics team that still had Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Robert Williams in the starting lineup.
Nearly halfway through the seasons, what’s next? He echoed a point that has been brought up for the past few weeks, saying that Boston just needs to be more consistent overall.
“Well, every game seems like it’s a new day with us and that can’t be the case. Can’t be three-day quarters here and then one undisciplined quarter, as we saw there. Same thing with Milwaukee… It can’t be a restart, a reset every game. You have to have some continuity, some consistency, as far as that.”
Whether they play well in the first half, the second half, or only individual quarters, this Celtics team seems to be allergic to playing a full 48 minutes of basketball. They always manage to falter at some point in the game.
Despite the large number of absences they are dealing with, Udoka said that there’s no excuse for what happened last night.
“That lack of consistency overall there is what’s most concerning. It doesn’t really matter who’s in or out. You know, we got some lineups out there we’re obviously not familiar with, but the things that you’re seeing, it doesn’t matter.”
He also said that the coaching staff has to “find a way to motivate them to be consistent.” Udoka knows that he’s just as responsible for turning things around as the players are. But talking the talk and walking the walk are two very different things. The Celtics should probably learn how to crawl first, because walking sounds like too tall of a task for now.