It’s been mostly sunshine and rainbows for the Boston Celtics this season, but the primary emotion shining through on Saturday night was frustration. They suffered an ugly 123-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors. It marked their sixth loss of the year, their third in regulation, and their first loss to a Western Conference team.
Boston was shaky from the get-go, as they lost every quarter except for the second, including an eight-point deficit in the first. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 66 points, while Jayson Tatum only managed to put up 18.
However, despite the tough loss, there was a relatively calm demeanor after the game. Head coach Joe Mazzulla even said that he’s “not disappointed at all” and that the game was “just another opportunity” because “every game gives you information.”
Mazzulla’s now-famous sandcastle approach seems to be rubbing off on the team as well, as Jaylen Brown echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“I’ve learned to appreciate the journey. I’ve learned to embrace the ups, the highs, the downs, the lows. It cultivates you into who you are. ... We gotta appreciate this journey. We can’t take any shortcuts.”
While Tatum never found his footing against Golden State, Brown was one of the only reasons the Celtics had a chance in the game at all. He dropped 31 points, nine rebounds, and three assists on 13-of-23 shooting from the field.
The Celtics are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league, but on a night where their defense was subpar, they only managed to shoot 12-for-40 from distance. Brown was able to get to his shot in the mid-range more often than not, and it became one of Boston’s only sources of consistent offense throughout the night. Ten of his 13 makes were from two-point range, and he shot 10-of-12 from inside the arc.
This was the first time the Celtics have faced off against the Warriors since losing to them in the NBA Finals last summer. Yet, it was the newly acquired Malcolm Brogdon who provided some extra perspective as a player who wasn’t even on that Finals team.
“We got to come correct next time we play them. Really, it’s good to play them early in the year. In a lot of ways, it’s good to get beat by them. We understand that they’re going to play their best game against us regardless of how their season is going, and we can learn from it. We’re a team that looks slightly different this year. We have more strengths, I think we’re deeper. And we can attack them in different ways next time we play them.”
Malcolm Brogdon spoke on the loss to Golden State being good for the Celtics moving forward pic.twitter.com/epCGCU0Ae3— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 11, 2022
Brogdon, like Brown, was a key contributor for the Celtics on Saturday night. He had 16 points off the bench to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Six of his points came in the first quarter alone, as he was able to keep the team afloat when they were treading water early on.
He joined the team via trade this offseason after spending the past three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Brogdon made the playoffs just once in those three years and was bounced in the first round. Earlier this season, he said that he tries to remind Celtics players to savor their time in Boston and appreciate the situation they are in because it’s “special.”
And while losing to the same team that took away Banner 18 last year stings, the Celtics are still in a great position at 21-6, and Tatum likes to keep things moving.
“I’m a big believer in great games, bad games, it’s over with. There’s nothing I can do about what just happened but get some rest, watch some film, and get ready for Monday. That’s just as honest as I can be.”