February 26, 2024

Celtics

Brown and the Celtics remained good at dwelling with a powerful win Sunday.

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drives towards Orlando Magic ahead Paolo Banchero in the course of the first half of an NBA basketball recreation, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Boston. AP Photograph/Mary Schwalm

The Celtics completed an ideal dwelling stand in spectacular vogue on Sunday, claiming a 114-97 victory over the Magic.

Listed below are 9 takeaways.

1. A couple of week after the Celtics bowed out of the in-season match with a lackluster loss the Pacers, Joe Mazzulla stated he didn’t need the match to be a focus for his group.

“My entire level to start with was like, if we’re going to make use of all our emotional vitality to do that one factor and we nonetheless have 61 video games left, what’s going to be our motivation after that?” Mazzulla stated. “And so, are we pissed off that we didn’t get an opportunity to win a championship? Sure, however we do need to see that issues that go into profitable a championship are the issues that go into profitable on a Monday evening in the midst of January when nobody actually desires to play.”

The Celtics’ win over the Magic wasn’t a Monday in the midst of January, but it surely was a day recreation in the midst of December that the Celtics might need misplaced below completely different circumstances.

As a substitute, the Celtics despatched a message to a good-but-young Magic group: Not but, guys. Not but, Paolo Banchero, regardless of your 19 first-quarter factors. Not but, Franz Wagner. Not but, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. The Magic are good, however the Celtics are higher, stronger, deeper, extra skilled, and extra organized.

“What we did this week was spectacular, I really feel like,” Jayson Tatum stated. “I’m not sure that final yr, we’d have gained all these video games. However taking part in two actually good groups that current completely different challenges — groups that, particularly Orlando, we struggled with up to now. Particularly Friday, we had three bigs out and the way in which that we performed in that recreation, we discovered a approach to win.

“Successful these 4 video games at dwelling, I don’t know what all people else thought, but it surely was spectacular and I used to be happy with the way in which we performed.”

2. Jaylen Brown took the sport over within the fourth quarter. After flattening a turnaround jumper, he beat Franz Wagner repeatedly off the dribble and knocked down three assured wanting triples (and a two from the nook along with his foot on the road). His barrage pushed the sport out of attain for the Celtics, and he scored 17 of his team-high 31 factors within the last 12 minutes.

“I’m only a basketball participant,” Brown stated. “I’m a do-whatever-the-team-needs type of man. First quarter, fourth quarter, I simply benefit from the alternatives I get, make the proper reads, and if I get in a rhythm at any level within the recreation it may well simply add to the success.”

After certainly one of Brown’s baskets, Mazzulla may very well be seen pumping his fist.

“Jaylen has actually grown as a participant,” Mazzulla stated. ‘What he did within the fourth quarter was simply playmaking, making the proper play — whether or not it was passing or scoring, attending to his spot, and it’s been actually enjoyable to observe him develop as a participant this yr, and our group, our group’s mindset.”

3. To Mazzulla’s level about Brown’s progress, we proceed our sequence highlighting Brown’s video games with 4 or extra assists. On Sunday, he did it for the fifth recreation in a row, this time recording six. There have been a number of good ones — the drive-draw-and-kick to Al Horford, the landing cross to Jrue Vacation, the zero-dribble give-and-go to Vacation — however the very best one might have been a transition dish to Porzingis within the second quarter. On the defensive finish, Brown swatted a shot, then took a cross from Derrick White and veered away from the ring on the final second, drawing two defenders. That opened up a lane for Porzingis, who threw down a one-handed dunk.

4. Tatum put an exclamation mark on the win within the fourth quarter with a large block towards Banchero.

“You see how the fellows on the bench reacted. Typically they get extra excited once I do issues like that than once I rating,” Tatum stated. “So it’s like a snowball impact after we make these performs on protection. The vitality continues to hold all through the group and we feed off that.”

Tatum was comparatively inefficient, ending 8-for-21 with 23 factors, however he made 4 of his six makes an attempt from behind the arc. Of his misses, two have been a pair of layups that he rebounded (and finally completed off) within the first quarter, and 4 have been turnaround fadeaways. That shot particularly gave him matches on Sunday.

5. Kristaps Porzingis was sluggish to stand up after one foul within the second half, and whereas he finally appeared to stroll it off, seeing him limp was regarding for Celtics followers.

Porzingis stated he felt ok to play on Friday, however the coaching workers held out for precautionary causes. He admitted that lacking one finish of subsequent week’s back-to-back hasn’t been dominated out.

“That’s one thing we simply began speaking about. We don’t have the reply but,” Porzingis stated. “However they know my stance: I wish to play in each recreation they permit me. However after all, they wish to be good with me and my well being. Make certain I’m right here for the lengthy image.”

6. We current these two clips of Sam Hauser scoring with out remark, aside from to cite the well-known Russell Westbrook meme and say, “Ah! That’s fairly fascinating.”

7. Banchero has real celebrity potential, in addition to a number of the flaws one would count on to see from a 21-year-old. He obtained sizzling from 3-point vary and burned the Celtics within the first quarter, however he additionally turned the ball over 4 occasions exposing it to Celtics gamers who’re actually good at swiping with out fouling.

We touched on Banchero’s similarities to Tatum on Friday, however we missed one: As he closes a number of the gaps in his recreation, he has an opportunity to turn into the type of celebrity that’s very easy to construct round. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are nice, however gamers like Tatum and Banchero make a basic supervisor’s job a lot simpler.

8. Shout out to the Sports activities Illustrated Children reporter who requested Mazzulla if he performed basketball rising up and obtained an insightful reply from the Celtics coach about why he obtained into the career.

“It’s type of the rationale why I obtained into teaching, is as a result of I by no means had a nasty expertise with a coach, and you would see the affect that they make in your children and on individuals,” Mazzulla stated. “They helped make the game enjoyable, and I like simply competing actually arduous.

“I wasn’t ever that good. So ensure you write that. However I wish to play actually arduous, and I like being part of a group.”

9. The Celtics simply accomplished a really odd dwelling stand. Now they face a highway journey out west, the place they are going to tackle the Warriors and Kings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, adopted by video games towards the Clippers and Lakers on the twenty third and twenty fifth.