Ugh, not the performance we were looking for tonight as the Celtics dropped the second game of a back to back at home, losing to the Utah Jazz 98-86. As sweet as the thrilling overtime game last night was, tonight was a completely different story and there’s not a lot of good you can really pull from it.
First off, we can’t just rely on Kyrie for scoring. It’s not that I don’t think he can carry this team on his back, (he just did so last night) but he can’t be expected to do it on a nightly basis. He was the only Celtics to score more than 10 points tonight and that just isn’t acceptable on the NBA level. Tatum for all his talent in the world, looks completely clueless on what his next move should be on offense. He can’t seem to decide when he wants to shoot the three or a midrange shot or if he should take it to the hole. He looks very hesitant out there on offense and isn’t creating enough separation. I know we are putting a lot of pressure on him as a 20-year-old kid, but he needs to understand that without his offensive production this team simply can’t win very many games.
Hayward is still trying to get right so I won’t be too hard on him, but man it’s really getting to the point where its tough to watch his contributions on offense and not cringe at the fact we pay this guy 31 million a year. 31 MILLION. I know the rumblings have already been out there that he could be a piece in a trade if things don’t get better, personally I don’t agree quite yet but tell me who in their right mind right now would be willing to take on that contract with the production he’s bringing with it. It would be ludicrous to do so.
Last but not least, Where is the Al Horford that we have come to love for his timely scoring and fierceness on the defensive side of the ball. Al has looked very pedestrian thus far this season and it’s starting to worry me. If you look back at last years playoff run, as much as Tatum was the story that team doesn’t go anywhere without the terrific play of Horford. We have seen him struggle for stretches in the regular season before but it hasn’t seemed like he’s been comfortable trying to score down low at all this season. Often times he would be the go to guy to get a bucket on nights like tonight when the offense had gone stale. Would like to see the wily vet take some of that responsibility when the going gets tough moving forward. Would also like to see them run the offense through him at the top of the circle like we saw at points in the playoffs last year, I think that’s when he is absolute best.
Defensively I’m actually not too upset but obviously it could have been better. It got to the point tonight that If I had to watch another pick and roll that lead to a free dunk or lay up for Rudy Gobert or Derrick Favors I was gonna stab my eyes out. They were killing us with that most of the game and it just got embarrassing. Donovan Mitchell showed us why he’s considered to be one of the next premier scorers in this league but I can live with that as long as we are putting a body on him and he’s making tought shots. Besides that I thought they played hard on defense tonight they just could not keep up with the points. Anytime this team holds someone to less than 100 at the Garden we should be walking away with a win, not a 12 point loss.
I guess we can chalk this one up to a classic let down game after a thriller last night, but also keep it as a reminder that as good as they looked down the stretch of that barn burner against the Raptors, this team has a longgggg way to go and expect some more moments where you’re scratching your head or getting frustrated before it gets better.