Five takeaways from Celtics' loss to Knicks
Five takeaways from Celtics' loss to Knicks: One-game hiccup?
BOSTON – It has been a while since the Celtics lost a game that they should have won based on who the opponent was.
So, moving past Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to New York won’t be quite as easy as say putting a loss to Cleveland, Toronto or one of the Western Conference powers, behind them.
While there were a number of factors that played in the loss, chief among them being Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) not being available to defend Derrick Rose, most of what went wrong for Boston stemmed from self-inflicted miscues.
“We certainly got out-performed,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “And I don’t want to take away from the Knicks, because they really played very well and they had a great spirit about them.”
Here are five takeaways following Boston’s loss to the Knicks on Wednesday:
SENSE OF URGENCY MISSING
The Celtics take pride in playing to the final whistle, the kind of basketball that Celtics Nation embraces wholeheartedly. But that fight, that focus on winning was nowhere to be found for most of Wednesday’s loss. It’s easy to chuck it up to being just a one-game thing because there’s no pattern leading up to Wednesday that it’s a systemic problem. But going forward, it will certainly be something to keep an eye on.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has talked about his team needing to have a certain presence about them in games. The more they play, the greater that need seems to be. Boston showed very little force defensively against a Knicks team that seemingly got any shot they wanted most of the night. The Celtics’ defensive rating stands at 106.2, which ranks 20th in the NBA. There are few areas that for Boston, need greater improvement.
AVERY BRADLEY’S VALUE
Not having an all-NBA First Team defender will hurt any team, regardless of how much talent is on the roster. But the absence of Bradley against the Knicks was noticeable at both ends of the floor. Although Isaiah Thomas is a huge scorer for the Celtics, Bradley provides a certain offensive balance that keeps teams honest most of the time. And his defense was sorely needed, especially when you consider how Derrick Rose went off for a team-high 30 points.
REBOUNDING WOES CONTINUE
What made the rebounding struggles more troublesome than previous ones for Boston, is that it came against a New York Knicks team that played even smaller than most of Boston’s foes. Not only did Boston lose the battle on the boards, they were absolutely crushed, 57-33. And their rebounding percentage of .474 ranks 28th in the NBA. To put that in perspective, Boston has more wins (26) than any team ranked in the bottom 10 in rebounding percentage, which speaks to how unusual their board problems have been and yet they still manage to win a lot of games.
HORFORD HAS TO PLAY BETTER
Boston’s loss to New York can’t be pinned on one player. But Al Horford knows the Celtics can’t win if he plays the way he did against the Knicks. And while shooting 2-for-14 from the field was a major player in the game’s outcome, Horford’s defense was just as problematic. This season, opponents are shooting 46.6 percent from the field against Horford, which is 0.3 percent less than they shoot for the season. But against the Knicks, opponents shot 62.5 percent while Horford was defending, which was a problem he acknowledged after the game. Just like the lack of urgency Boston played with on Wednesday, you want to chalk up Horford’s bad night to being just that, one of those nights.