Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: Bucks capitalize on Celtics mistakes

Stars, studs and duds: Bucks capitalize on Celtics mistakes

BOSTON – Even if Gordon Hayward weren’t out indefinitely with dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia, the Boston Celtics would still be working on finding the right combinations to play with that works.

But without him, that process becomes much more challenging as we saw in Wednesday’s 108-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The team’s newer faces in new roles created some old-as-beginning-of-time problems for the Celtics with players not consistently being where they were supposed to while in the game.

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“They (Milwaukee) capitalized on a lot of mistakes we made,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier. “We messed up on a lot of plays. That can’t happen.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens didn’t mince his words when it came to succinctly explaining how Boston now finds itself on a two-game losing streak to start the season which hasn’t happened since his rookie season as the Celtics’ head coach in 2013.

“Both nights I thought that we got outplayed,” Stevens said.

Rozier agreed.

“Like he (Stevens) said, … you better learn those plays or you won’t play,” Rozier said.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

STARS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak will be a legit top-5 MVP candidate for his ability to simply fill up the stat sheet every night. Boston had no answer for him on Wednesday, as Antetokounmpo finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds and three assists along with three steals.

 

STUDS

Jaylen Brown

Two games into the season and Brown is looking very much like one of the league’s most improved players. He delivered another strong performance on Wednesday, tallying 18 points and five rebounds which included nine points scored in the third quarter. He fouled out with 1:48 to play.

Terry Rozier

He was having a near triple-double kind of night in a very quiet, below-the-radar fashion. He would finish with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists off the Celtics bench.

Malcolm Brogdon

The NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year was once again making his presence felt at both ends of the floor. In addition to some solid play defensively, Brogdon also had 19 points and four assists.

 

DUDS

Kyrie Irving

This just wasn’t Irving’s night. He got lots of good looks but far too often, came up short. He would finish with 17 points for Boston, but shot just 7-for-25 from the field. He has to be more efficient than that for the Celtics to be successful, especially with Gordon Hayward out indefinitely.

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Gordon Hayward already back on the court and draining threes

hayward-rehab-122117.png

Gordon Hayward already back on the court and draining threes

Gordon Hayward had just about the most horrific debut any player could imagine.

We won't get into the details again, but it left many wondering the Celtics would even recover emotionally to compete in the East.

Now it's clear they are more than prepared to make some noise in the playoffs.

The most important recovery is Hayward's and tonight fans scrolled through social media to see encouraging progress.

Still can’t beat me... 🤷🏻‍♀️

A post shared by Robyn Hayward (@robynmhayward) on

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Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

BOSTON – While it’s too soon to hit the panic button on the Boston Celtics’ season, Sunday’s 103-95 loss to Orlando is disturbing on multiple fronts. 

For starters, the Magic (14-32) have been in the NBA basement most of the season, so for them to see the light towards victory, on the road nonetheless, against the Celtics is bothersome for the Green Team. 

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Magic

Boston came into Sunday’s game with an impressive 17-3 record against teams with a sub-.500 record.

Making matters even worst, it was Boston’s third straight loss – a first for the Celtics this season - with all three defeats coming at the TD Garden. 

Celtics big man Al Horford said the team needs a “Fight for our lives’” mentality heading into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

While no one wants to lose game, having to overcome some hurdles along the journey isn’t always a bad thing.

“Gotta have some adversity,” said Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 40 points - the second time he has reached the 40-point plateau this season (47 points, Nov. 20 at Dallas). “We need it as a team. There’s a lot more adversity down the road. You have to be able to weather the storm no matter what.”

Aside from Gordon Hayward’s dislocated ankle injury in the season-opener, dropping three straight is probably the biggest adversity the Celtics have had this season. 

And this latest setback came against an Orlando franchise that the Celtics have absolutely owned at home. 

Prior to Sunday’s loss, Boston had not lost to the Magic at home since Feb. 7, 2010 with 14 straight wins.

"We didn't underestimate them," said Boston's Jaylen Brown who had 17 points. "They've been playing a lot better than they've been playing all year."

Al Horford echoed similar sentiments.

“You can’t underestimate any team,” Horford said. “I don’t think we necessarily did, but we need to have that sense of urgency like we started the game and be able to hold that throughout the game. That’s important.”

So is making the most of transition scoring opportunities which was an area of play in which the Celtics struggled mightily all game. 

Boston wound up with six, fast-break points on just 3-for-9 shooting. 

“We had some transition opportunities that we didn’t covert,” acknowledged Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. 

Failing to capitalize on those easy scoring opportunities came back to hurt Boston and in hindsight, proved to be one of the key differences in the game’s outcome. 

“Whether you’re doing things at an optimum level as you would like, that’s part of the game of learning one another,” Irving said. “Being able to figure out how to respond from that. Us as a group, we’ve come together in the last four months, five months, it’s new. We need to hit something like this in order for us to grow. It’s part of the game; part of being on a team, part of being a professional. Any team, any environment, you have to have stuff like this where you have to figure it out.”

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