Celtics

Jae Crowder on loss to 76ers: 'That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent'

Jae Crowder on loss to 76ers: 'That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent'

No matter how much Boston Celtics players talk about staying in the moment, they’re human. 

They pay attention to the basketball world around them far more than they try to let on. So prior to their two-game weekend trip to Brooklyn and Philadelphia, there was no need to talk to them much about Monday’s matchup against Washington. They knew it was coming which may have proven to be a bit of a distraction in their 105-99 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.

Boston struggled in so many phases of play, seemingly at their worst to end quarters which gave an already-improving Sixers team more confidence and momentum going forward as they rallied from a 13-point Celtics lead in the third quarter to get the win. 

You can count Jae Crowder among those who believes there were a few bodies inside the locker room who may have had some of their attention and focus away from the Sixers and on to the next game against the Wizards who are right behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. 

“We were talking about, a few guys overlooking this game; I think so, looking forward to the Washington game,” Crowder told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent, especially these guys.”

The Sixers came in having won two of its previous three games, the last of which was a blowout win over Dallas.

Dario Saric has emerged as their best player with Joel Embiid out for the rest of the season. Saric, a front-runner for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, led the Sixers with 23 points on 10-for-20 shooting on Sunday, in addition to grabbing six rebounds while dishing out four assists. 

Role players like Robert Covington (16 points, eight rebounds, two steals vs. Celtics on Sunday) have found ways to contribute while others such as Richaun Holmes (11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots) provide a specific niche that at the very least allows the Sixers to be more competitive. 

And while the Celtics led through various stretches all game, there was never a sense that they had full control of the game in large part because their level of focus never seemed to reach its peak. 

Now maybe not having Isaiah Thomas (knee) had something to do with that. Prior to Sunday’s game, Boston was 2-3 this season in games in which Thomas did not play. But that’s still no excuse for the team’s overall level of focus to not be high. In fact, one would think that playing without Thomas would have led to an increased level of focus and detail to try and make up for Thomas’ absence. 

“They’re very capable,” Crowder said of the Sixers. “They play so hard. A few of us were overlooking this game, going into tomorrow.” 

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

boston-celtics-marcus-morris-91917.jpg

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.