After a tough loss on Monday night to the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics rebounded and responded by taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113 on Wednesday at TD Garden. Boston’s loss in New York was highlighted by an extremely poor shooting performance from beyond the arc, making only 9-of-42 on 21.4% from three on their way to a 109-94 loss at Madison Square Garden.
“I think we started off the game shooting way too many threes,” said Jaylen Brown following Wednesday night’s win. “I know that’s the part of how the game goes when we’re not making them. Getting to the basket, getting some shots that we know we can hit can open those things up.”
Brown missed Monday’s game due to personal reasons, and made his return against Cleveland, scoring 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, and chipped in three rebounds and four assists.
“Here tonight, we didn’t start off the game shooting the ball fantastic,” Brown continued, “But being able to score in transition, being able to get some open shots and creating for others just opens the game up a little bit for everybody.”
Boston’s offense was definitely clicking by the end of the night, shooting 50% from the field and from three (16-of-32) and dishing 27 assists. In addition, the Celtics outrebounded the physically imposing Cavaliers 43-38.
The only Celtics with 20+ 40-point games:— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 2, 2023
And he’s only 19. pic.twitter.com/fPQwpVdbOh
“Watching that game was tough,” said Brown on the Celtics loss to the Knicks, “Obviously, we wanted to come back and get a win after New York beat us the last time. But hopefully, we’ll see them again down the line.” The Knicks are firmly in the playoff picture as of now, riding a 7-game win streak and sitting in fifth in the conference, only a game and a half back of the Cavaliers.
As it currently stands, Boston won’t have a lot of wiggle room to try and work with in terms of resting guys down the stretch, not if they want to get the top seed in the East. The Milwaukee Bucks are scorching hot right now, with a sizzling 16-game winning streak, which is the longest in the NBA this season. After losing to the Knicks on Monday night, the Bucks leapfrogged the Celtics and now sit half a game ahead of Boston; Milwaukee will play Philadelphia on Saturday night.
“It’s a new year,” said Brown. “We’re all healthy, I feel like we’ve got a good chance to win any ball game. So, the focus is just being healthy, taking care of your body and just coming out and playing games, getting chemistry, but building the right habits. I think that’s important, especially moving towards the playoffs. We just got to keeping moving and building the right habits.”
With the final seeding looking more and more like it will come down to the wire, Boston will have to continue what Jaylen Brown said: play basketball the right way, build the right habits, and continue to build chemistry before the postseason kicks off and the stakes get higher. Boston will play against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at TD Garden, 7:30 pm EST tipoff.