7 takeaways as shorthanded Celtics cool down late and fall to Heat
The Celtics lost their second game in a row on Tuesday, falling to the Heat 98-95.
Here are the takeaways.
1. The Celtics were shorthanded and played without Jaylen Brown (injury management), Al Horford (stiff back, or more specifically, second night of straight stiffness), Marcus Smart (sprained ankle), and Malcolm Brogdon (personal reasons).
And yet they still had every chance of stealing a game from a battling Heat team that couldn’t buy a bucket of three-pointers. Tyler Herro went 4 for 19 from the floor, which understates how badly he played. Max Strus – who often plays well against his former team – only made 4 of 10 shots from the field. With 8:47 left, the Celtics led by 10 and Jayson Tatum was still parked on the bench, resting for the fourth quarter run. It looked promising.
After that, the Celtics missed 10 straight field goals, going nearly six minutes without a goal. The Heat took advantage and scored 15 consecutive points to take a five-point lead against a Celtics squad that looked like they had lost their legs.
Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo picked up the game late—a dominant defensive performance, coupled with nine of his 30 points and eight of 15 rebounds in the fourth quarter.
And again, the Celtics got several late chances. Down twice in the last 20 seconds after Adebayo buried a mid-range jumper, Jayson Tatum dribbled for most of the clock and tried to find Grant Williams in the corner, but his pass was caught by Tyler Herro.
“It’s up to me to put him in a better situation,” Joe Mazzulla told reporters after the match. “But I thought they had their offensive lineup on the floor. I knew they wouldn’t let him get anything, but if we can get two of them on the ball… but again, I need to put together a better game that allows him to see that better. He didn’t see the 2-on-1 well enough. So there I must mention a better game.
Then, after the Heat went 1 for 2 at the free throw line, Payton Pritchard looked half decent but fell short of what would have been the buzzer-tying triple.
For all of these reasons, Celtics fans may have found Tuesday’s game particularly annoying. The loss itself doesn’t matter too much – the Celtics remain the best team in the league in terms of record and net score, and any general concerns are greatly mitigated by all the absences. But staying scoreless for more than five minutes in a row always has consequences.
2. Jayson Tatum scored 31 points on 9-for-18 shooting, had seven assists and was great in the second and third quarters, but the heat effectively froze him from the fourth after he returned from his usual early break. Tatum finished with just three points, and the last of his seven losses – which came at the end of a long and confusing iso possession – was one of the worst critical time plays we can remember.
“I think it was smart not to call a timeout,” Tatum told reporters. “I pay. They trust me in this situation to play the right game. Whether I’m in a doubles team or not, I can’t let us down like this.
Everyone needs a tough stretch now and then, and Tatum is no exception, but it was a less than inspiring performance after three quarters of excellent basketball from the Celtics star.
3. As a team, the Celtics turned the ball 17 times, giving the Heat social media team a chance to recall a highly controversial tweet from the weekend following the Cowboys’ loss to the 49ers.
The Cowboys social media team unleashed, of course a strangely wild tweet about their own quarterback, Dak Prescott, noting that he “gave the ball away twice in the tight loss to the 49ers, in a game the Cowboys had a chance to win if they didn’t inflict self-inflicted wounds again.”
4. Not for the first time (or second time, or third time) this season has Derrick White shown how much value he brings to the Celtics when he’s on the field. White played in a larger role, finishing with 23 points on 7-for-17 shooting with six assists and scoring in several ways. eight times to the free-throw line.
The Celtics don’t often need White as a first-goal scorer, but the flashes of potential he shows when needed is an intriguing wrinkle from a player who has two more seasons under contract beyond this season.
5. Payton Pritchard may not have had the energy to put his last 3-pointer on edge — after playing 30 minutes against the Magic on Monday, he played 42:28 against the Heat, which was the second-highest number of minutes of his career is .
Pritchard struggled with long minutes, shooting a combined 6-for-20 and 3-for-13 from behind the arc, but had seven rebounds and four assists against the Heat.
6. The Celtics locker room looks like it could probably survive a loss or two.
According to Himmelsbach, Smart said he had no idea where the hit came from and suggested the Celtics limit Mazzulla’s sugar intake.
7. The Celtics started a 12-of-17 series on TNT, ESPN or ABC on Tuesdays. The national television audience will be getting a huge dose of the best team in the league in the coming weeks.
The same goes for the Celtics’ next game. They play the Knicks on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on TNT
Sign up for Celtics updates🏀
Get the latest news and analysis delivered to your inbox during basketball season.
Not all news on the site reflects the site’s point of view, but we automatically transmit and translate this news through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.