The bigger they are, the harder they fall. So, after the Boston Celtics took down the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings by a combined total of 82 points, their loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night certainly felt like a hard fall.
Boston clawed their way back from a 15-point halftime deficit, only to throw the game away in the final minutes. It was the classic case of the fourth-quarter woes for the C’s.
Jaylen Brown commented on this issue after the game, admitting that when the teams faces adversity late in games, they tend to crumble.
“Execution offensively hasn’t been great all season. At times when we hit those moments of adversity in the fourth quarter, we tend to show what we’ve been. And we haven’t been very good.”
The Celtics could only muster up 15 fourth-quarter points, as the Hawks poured in 28. Boston shot 5-of-20 (25.0 percent) from the field and 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) from deep in the fourth.
It’s this lack of offensive execution that has been costing the Celtics’ games all year long, according to Brown. When the game has been on the line, Boston has not stepped up.
“We've lost too many games on the line. We’ve learned in those moments but we’ve definitely gotta do something different.”
The loss stings even more since it followed two dominant wins. However, that might be part of the problem. Brown talked about how the Celtics rest on their laurels a bit after they string together a couple of wins.
“At times it seems like we win a couple of games and then we lose that edge… we just gotta continue to have that edge. Come out ready to attack and ready to win. Sometimes it just feels like we’re out there playing basketball. We just gotta be better. I gotta be better.”
Boston has yet to win more than three games in a row this season, and they’ve only reached that mark twice. That’s the mark of a .500 basketball team.
Jayson Tatum also spoke to the media after the game. He discussed the road ahead for Boston, as well as their disappointment with how they’ve been playing up to this point in the year.
“We’ve been playing better as of late, which is good for sure. But we still have a very, very long way to go. Still realizing that we’re .500, and that this isn’t where I or anybody wanted to be coming into the season. And it’s not what we’ve worked hard for or what ourselves and our fans are used to.”
The Celtics will now take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night with a chance to get back on track. Win, and they are above .500 again. Lose, and they dip back below. Flip, flop, flip, flop.