Bringing back the yay or nay series for this one.
Look no further than the electric Boston Celtics with their 9th straight victory against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Let’s get one thing straight. The Celtics aren’t just demolishing teams, they’re putting on a show.
Yay: DWhite With Another Clinic
Not really much of a shocker but White had another electric performance with 26 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He also shot the ball at an efficient rate of 75% from both the field and three-point range.
He had an impressive offensive stretch in the third quarter when he knocked down a three-ball at 5:01 and then in the next possession, immediately pushed the pace, made a spin move at 4:38 to knock the floater down, and push the lead to 81-66.
Now that’s just the offense part, the defense was special too.
At 4:15 in the third quarter, Ingram beats him off the dribble, White stays with the play and times a perfect swat of the ball and steals it just like that.
Besides the nice block he made at McCollum when he was driving hard to the cup at 3:48 in the third, his on-ball pressure remains one of his best assets and it was on full display for this game.
DWhite was in complete control again for this performance of his, wherein outside of his one turnover, he didn’t force anything and moved within the flow of the offense, and was no slouch on the defensive end of the ball as well.
Yay: JB Bounce Back Game
Ever since the Thunder game, I knew the Jays were going to be fine as shooting slumps are bound to happen at some point in the season. Because again, this is the Jays we’re talking about over here, they will always be fine.
As we await Tatum’s return to top form, JB is out here looking explosive and doing it efficiently I might add.
Brown dropped a crazy stat sheet for this game at 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. He was also efficient in shooting the basketball at 50% from both the field and three-ball land.
It looked too easy for JB out there as he was a freight train coming at the Pelicans with force and fluidity to his move sets.
Contested fadeaway jumper? Splash. Deep three-balls? Nothing but net. Faking out the defender for an ane-one finish? Too strong, too good.
Probably my favorite play from JB was when he missed the shot twice under the basket, but he remained aggressive in crashing the offensive boards and making the play count, resulting in a putback finish for Brown at 3:13 left in the fourth.
Cue the flex JB.
Yay: Al Looking Spry As Usual
Horford had another good outing with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. He was excellent also in shooting from the field at 87% and 80% from deep.
After a couple of decent performances to start the season, Al has never looked better as he tries to deny Father Time time and time again.
Besides the steady offense, Horford was great again in providing rim pressure at the basket. He made things difficult for the Pelicans’ slashers in getting easy baskets as he showcased his extra step at the defensive end of the ball.
Just an absolute luxury to have Al’s presence on this team and I’m all here for it.
Yay: Steady Grant
Grant had another good outing with 12 points and 5 rebounds. He shot the ball well also at 50% from the field and 33% from deep.
After the Pelicans were able to trim the lead at 98-92, after an Ingram pull-up three, Grant delivers a timely three-ball from his corner office spot at 5:53 in crunch time.
This is why Grant has proven to be very crucial in this team’s success as he proves steady scoring, similar to Horford, whenever he’s on the court as he’s shown how much he has improved upon on his overall game.
Yay: Tatum’s Passing and Defense
JT’s passing in this game was on-point.
He had a total of 10 assists for tonight with some crucial ones like the corner pass to Grant for the three-ball which pushed the lead to 101-92 at 5:52 in the fourth, and the nice vision to JB at 48 seconds in crunch time after getting double-teamed, which led to an easy finish for Brown to put this one home.
The defense was also solid from Tatum as his closeouts were sharp, along with his contests on lay-ups and forcing tough shots whether it’s on Ingram or Jones.
Whenever Tatum’s offense is a no-show, you can bet these two assets to his game will show up ready to play.
Yay: Ball Movement Was Great
Outside of that weird one-on-one action with Brown and Brogdon late in the third, which resulted in ugly possessions, the ball movement was rock solid for this game with a total of 28 assists.
The offense was cooking yet again at an efficient clip with 48% from the field and 43% from the three-ball land.
Mazzulla ball was on another one for this game, especially with how they started a picture-perfect offensive showcase in the first quarter.
What I love most especially with this ball club’s offense is that they’re willing to wait for the shot clock out all for the end result of getting a quality shot at the end of each possession.
Besides a couple of possessions wherein they were playing a tad bit slow, the overall fast pace was consistent against the Pelicans, which was a nice counter as this specific opponent also prefers pushing the pace of the offense.
Nay: The TO Numbers
Before this game, the Celtics were pretty good at handling the ball, especially when you consider their brand of offense.
But that weird stretch in the final minutes of the third, courtesy of some careless ball handling and passing from Brown and Brogdon left me going "Okay that’s enough you two", as it was just disappointing to see unfold.
White and Al had some costly ones as well at the fourth, which sort of gave the Pelicans even more life to the game. Even that weird possession of Tatum getting to the cup and experiencing some butterfingers, which thankfully, landed in the hands of Grant for an easy lay-up.
I’m confident that things will go back to normal next game as this was just a weird outing, just infuriating to see since I was kind of hoping for a non-stop blowout.
But runs are inevitable and the C’s still managed to hold the fort down.
Nay: Tatum’s Shooting Slump
His slump started during the Thunder game and continued to the Hawks game and now with the Pelicans match-up.
Listen, I won’t overreact since he has been an absolute killer lately and also huge for the team in their current win streak.
The thing about Tatum is you can’t easily get wrapped up in his shooting slump as he always finds a way to make an impact on the court with his passing and defense.
And also, most of the shots he’s taking, especially from this game, are the shots that he usually makes. Besides, this is Jayson Tatum we’re talking about over here, and considering the incredible start he has showcased so far in this season, you know it’s only a matter of time ‘til the shooting and efficiency return to normal.
To be fair, I wanted to see him drive the ball more, as opposed to taking the long jumpers since this would usually get him a chance to take a trip to the line for some easy baskets and maybe get him going.
Luckily the team will be having a two-day break, considering the long minutes he is playing, this might be just what the MVP candidate needs.
Yay or Nay? This is obviously a big yay of a win for the C’s as they continue strong with their 9-game winning streak heading into a two-day break from competition.
They took their feet off the gas in a few possessions and made things a little too interesting for this match-up, but with every punch the Pelicans would make, the Celtics responded with composure and played efficient team ball.
13-3 record as the best team right now in basketball. Love and trust.