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The Garden Report: Celtics find a new rock bottom

The Celtics allowed 21 threes, got outscored by nearly 30 by the Hornets starters and committed 13 turnovers in a lifeless effort against a shorthanded Charlotte team.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Celtics wrapped a weekend that returned many of the team’s inconsistent tendencies, saw Evan Fournier struggle in his return from COVID-19 and their defensive intensity slide into back-to-back blowout losses at the Nets and Hornets. Brad Stevens admitted getting out-coached against the Hornets, while blasting his team’s offense and defense by comparing the lackadaisical defensive effort as one that expected to meet the team’s own stagnant offense. The Garden Report and Celtics reacted to the losses below.

Terry Rozier Steal on Jayson Tatum REACTION

The Celtics lost a tough game to the Charlotte Hornets as they got blown out 125-104. Jayson Tatum was notably frustrated at times and had a few lapses in judgment throughout the game. On one play in particular, Tatum made a lazy pass to Kemba Walker that was promptly intercepted by Terry Rozier. Rozier then jammed it home.

The Garden Report crew discusses whether or not Brad Stevens should have benched Tatum at that moment. Benching players is not nearly as common in the NBA as it is in other sports, but that seemed like the time to do it. The play was a good representation of the entire game, as the Celtics just did not bring the same amount of energy as Charlotte did.

Tatum has been criticized all season for his lackadaisical body language and nonchalant attitude. Both of these were extremely apparent in the Hornets games and can even be traced back to the Celtics’ loss to the Nets on Friday.

Should Tatum have been benched for his lazy play? Does Tatum have an attitude problem? What’s the solution moving forward?

Kendrick Perkins Aims Blame at Brad Stevens

The Celtics lost to the Hornets to cap one of their worst weekends of the season, as Brad Stevens benched Semi Ojeleye and Romeo Langford after starting them on Friday. Boston essentially tuned to Stevens’ appeal for ball control after 19 turnovers vs the Nets, tossing the ball all over the place in the loss to the Hornets. Meanwhile, he lost another challenge that Tristan Thompson challenged him to take despite questionable hope for a win, and the team has struggled to raise up its young talent and find a rest night for Jayson Tatum. All this adds up to blame toward Stevens, which Bobby Manning finally started to admit some fault for Stevens with 11 games to go.

How Long Will Robert Williams Be Out?

Robert Williams III missed his sixth straight game with a knee injury that sounds similar to the condition that, in part, inspired his drop in the NBA Draft. Brad Stevens, who originally said Williams would return Thursday vs the Suns, now says the Celtics hope to have Williams back in the near future and that he’s not quite ready yet. Could this become a long-term injury for Williams after Danny Ainge dubbed Williams day-to-day after it occurred? What would the impact be on the Celtics, who went 8-2 with Williams as starter and are now 3-3 since the injury.

Celtics Can’t Beat Nets Even with Kyrie Struggling

The Garden Report recaps the Celtics loss to the Nets, 109-104. The team gave fans some hope while cutting Brooklyn’s 17-point lead down to a one score game, as it was 98-95 with about 3 1/2 minutes left, but the Nets shooters responded. The crew discusses what went wrong for the Celtics, including their rotations and why turnovers (19 tonight) are constantly a problem? They also point out some highlights as Jayson Tatum (38 PTS and 10 REBS) and Payton Pritchard (22 PTS, 6-7 from three-point line) stepped up.

The team again dealt with a shorthand roster, as Celtics starters, Jaylen Brown (left shoulder bursitis,) and Kemba Walker (knee, rest) sat out. Although, Evan Fournier, who was out due to COVID-19 protocol, returned and put up 2 PTS and 5 ATS in 22 minutes. After the game Fournier said, “That’s not how I want to play obviously. But I needed to get that first game back out there behind me. I’m tired, but that’s positive. That’s good.”

The Nets now reclaim first place in the NBA Eastern Conference standings with a 40-20 record. Meanwhile, the Celtics sit at six with a 32-28 record, only one game ahead of the Miami Heat.

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