Celtics

Celtics vs. Kings Instant Overreactions: C's starting to feel Gordon Hayward's absence?

Celtics vs. Kings Instant Overreactions: C's starting to feel Gordon Hayward's absence?

The Boston Celtics had their 10-game win streak snapped on Sunday as they fell to the Sacramento Kings, 100-99.

It came down to the final buzzer as Marcus Smart's last-second floater hung on the rim, but failed to fall into the basket.

Here are three instant overreactions from the loss, which brings the C's to 10-2 on the season:

1. The C's are starting to feel Gordon Hayward's absence.

Verdict: Overreaction

The Celtics have looked out of sync offensively in their last couple of games. Friday night's close call vs. the lowly Golden State Warriors left plenty to be desired, and their struggles in Sunday's loss didn't do much to inspire confidence either as they turned the ball over 14 times.

If we see one or two more lackluster performances like this on the West Coast road trip, it may be time to start counting down the days until Hayward's return. But for now, I'm willing to give the C's talented offensive unit the benefit of the doubt.

2. Jaylen Brown and Buddy Hield both are showing they're worth every penny.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Jaylen Brown finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Once again, he was one of Boston's standout performers on the offensive side and is backing up his statement about his game improving.

As for Hield, he continues to reward the Kings for signing him to a four-year, $86 million contract extension last month. The Celtics simply had no answer for the Indiana product, who dropped 35 points while going 7-for-12 in 3-pointers. Hield also drilled a key 3 late in the fourth quarter to help Sacramento come out on top.

3. Semi Ojeleye is the new Steph Curry.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

OK, fine, it may be a SLIGHT overreaction. Still, Ojeleye surprised everyone by going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and tallying 11 points off the bench. He was one of the bright spots in the Celtics' disappointing loss.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Suns, which tips off Monday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Joel Embiid pays Celtics fans the ultimate compliment ... but still loves silencing them

Joel Embiid pays Celtics fans the ultimate compliment ... but still loves silencing them

BOSTON -- Few professional athletes embrace hate like Joel Embiid.

The Philadelphia 76ers big man channeled recent criticism from Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal into a tour de force performance at TD Garden on Thursday night, tallying a season-high 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists to hand the Boston Celtics their first home loss, 115-109.

Embiid also fed off the Garden crowd, which booed the big man heartily throughout the night.

The 25-year-old tipped his cap to the Boston faithful after the game, admitting the loudest environment he's ever dealt with in an NBA game was a second-round playoff game at the Garden in 2018.

"They've got great fans. They're loud," Embiid said. "The loudest (game) I've ever been a part of was actually here in Game 2, two years ago in the playoffs.

"We were up by 20 and they made their run. It was loud and my ears were popping. That's the loudest (it's) ever been (for me) in an arena."

The Celtics stormed back to win that game 108-103, taking a 2-0 series lead over Philly en route to a five-game series win.

A year and a half later, Boston wasn't so lucky.

Embiid had been in a bit of funk over his last few games but seemed revitalized by the hostile Garden environment, relishing in making big plays like this dagger 3-pointer in the fourth quarter:

"They talk a lot of trash, and I like that," Embiid said. "It gets me going. I had that fun mentality about me tonight. Just reacting to them and playing off it."

Boston and Philly will meet twice more this season, with the Sixers coming to the Garden again on Feb. 1. Celtics fans can boo Embiid all they want, but they should be warned that it may not have the desired effect.

"Joel really set the tone of how we were going to play today," Sixers teammate Tobias Harris added. "His energy, his interactions at timeouts and dead balls: He was the man today."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics-76ers Instant Overreactions: Jayson Tatum's shooting slump hurting C's

Celtics-76ers Instant Overreactions: Jayson Tatum's shooting slump hurting C's

BOSTON -- The Celtics are undefeated at home no longer.

The Philadelphia 76ers handed Boston its first home loss of the season Thursday night, defeating its Eastern Conference rival 115-109.

The Sixers now have beaten the Celtics twice this season and jumped ahead of the C's into third place in the East with the win.

Here are three instant overreactions from Boston's loss, which drops the club to 17-7:

1. The Celtics go as Jayson Tatum goes.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

Tatum hardly needs to shoulder Boston's scoring load, as Kemba Walker paced the C's with 29 points Thursday night.

Tatum also hit a pair of big shots down the stretch to make things interesting. But the 21-year-old guard still shot just 5-for-18 one night after going 4-for-13 in Indiana, meaning Boston now is 3-4 when he scores 17 points or fewer, compared to 14-3 when he tops 18 points.

If the Celtics want to compete with the Eastern Conference elite, they'll need Tatum to bring his A game ... or at least his B game.

2. Enes Kanter just played his best game as a Celtic.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

The Celtics big man tallied a season-high 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting to go along with nine rebounds (three offensive).

But where Kanter impressed the most was on the defensive end, where he held his own with Joel Embiid and kept the All-Star center (somewhat) in check during the third quarter.

3. Ben Simmons is the third-best player on the Sixers.

Verdict: Overreaction

Embiid still managed to get his (game-high 38 points), while Tobias Harris poured in 23 points along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

Simmons? He attempted just six shots, made only two of them (seven points) and didn't really affect the game the way a former No. 1 overall pick should.

Philly's unicorn point guard is a better all-around player than Harris and should be Philly's second-best player, but he's certainly not playing like it.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.