Celtics

Celtics flop against the Bobcats, 94-89

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Celtics flop against the Bobcats, 94-89

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Even before the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew something wasn't right.

His team didn't have nearly as much focus or attention to detail as it displayed just 24 hours earlier.

It really shouldn't have been that big a surprise, when you consider how the Celtics have been all season in back-to-back games.

Great focus the first night, little to no focus the next.

Monday was another example of that as the Celtics suffered a 94-89 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, less than 24 hours removed from an impressive win over Orlando.

"What do we have, 13 losses?" said Rivers. "I know seven of them have come on back-to-backs. It's the same script on five of them, where we win a decent game the day before and come out and just play . . . you could see it in the first half; we came out, kind of goofing around. Then all of a sudden you try to win it in the fourth? You don't have anything left."

When it comes to back-to-back games, the Celtics' play has truly been like night and day.

In the first game of back-to-backs, the C's are 12-1.

On the back end, they're just 6-7 following Monday's loss.

At no point in the Monday's game did the C's exert full control over the situation, which, in a sense, gave Charlotte every reason to believe it could win.

Give the Bobcats credit.

Down the stretch, they made all the big shots, all the big plays, and to a man, they deserved to win.

But the C's can't help but feel this was yet another game that they gave away.

"I can't even look at the other team and say what they did well," said Boston's Ray Allen, who led all scorers with 25 points. "We didn't play up to the standards we need to put out there."

Making it even more surprising was the Bobcats spent the bulk of the game without their leader, Stephen Jackson.

After being called for fouling Kevin Garnett in the second quarter, Jackson voiced his displeasure with the call to an official.

Tech number one.

Jackson wasn't done . . . until his repeated chatter to the same official resulted in a second technical and the automatic ejection that came with it.

His departure did little for either team.

"It don't matter who's on the floor," Garnett said. "At some point, especially when you're home, your best player goes out . . . the team rallies around that, the energy in the building was very solid, very alive. So at some point, you had to anticipate them being energetic about that."

It was a much-needed victory for the Bobcats (22-29), who came into the game having lost four of their previous five games.

"It's probably the biggest win of the season so far," said Bobcats coach and former Celtic Paul Silas. "You're talking about a great team and we needed it. This is just a wonderful victory for us and I think it's something that can compel us to do even better."

For the C's, it should be a wake-up call that their focus has to amped up considerably in back-to-back games for them to have the kind of finish to this season that they want.

"Every year, we have some type of dilemma," Garnett said. "We have different dilemmas each year. I guess this year it's back-to-backs."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

MORE:

James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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