The Celtics Kicked Off The New Year With One Of The Most Embarrassing Losses You Could Possibly Have

Nic Antaya. Getty Images.

What, you thought just because it was a new year that the Boston Celtics were done pooping down their own leg in big moments and losing games they have no business losing? You fool. That will never change. Ever. Why start to build some momentum in a recent light part of your schedule when you can instead self sabotage and make things harder on yourself by losing to a 0-4 team that also was without their best player. Did you know the Pistons were 19-41 heading into last night's game when Blake Griffin doesn't play? 19-41. That's a 31% winning percentage. 

To you, this might have just been game 6 on the schedule. To me, it was one of the most disgusting and offensive basketball performances I've seen from this team in a long time. It's hard to have a more embarrassing loss to start the year than what we just witnessed, and there is no excuse for it. There is no spinzone I can throw you. It was bad. Really bad. Part of being a good team isn't just competing with other contenders. It's about taking care of business and beating the teams you are supposed to beat. This is now the second game in 6 tries that we've seen the Celts throw away a winnable game. Given who the Pistons are and what their roster looks like, this is easily the most inexcusable one. Have some fucking pride. Play with some goddamn balls. 

The good news I guess is they are still keeping pace with MIL/MIA/TOR/BKN, but that's annoying because this should be a time where the Celts are creating some separation. Not losing to a 0-4 team. 

So, like we always do, let's blog through the frustration and then forget this performance ever happened.

The Good

- I almost feel like skipping this section out of punishment for what we all had to watch, but at the same time I need something to keep myself from jumping off my roof, so I'm in a bit of a pickle. Despite the outrageously embarrassing final result, the Jays were pretty damn good in this game. Especially the second half

They finished with 53 points on 23-44 shooting, including 37 huge second half points. Jaylen Brown's continuing to have the best start to his career and this now might just be who he is. An efficient 25 point scoring two way monster. We were all curious how he would look with this expanded role, and he's passing with flying colors. He's been their best and most consistent player since the season started and I don't get the sense that will be changing anytime soon.


With Jayson, it was a slow start but he woke up in that third quarter and you saw how devastating he can be as a scorer. That sort if disappeared at a big moment which we'll get to, but a huge part of the reason the Celts were even abe to get a lead is because of how Tatum came out in the second half. He was aggressive, he started making his threes, his energy was just so much better. 

So while it stings that the Celts now drop to 11-2 when both the Jays score 20+, they still played well.

- I cannot stop watching this defense by Payton Pritchard

TThe kid gets in that ass like you read about. I get some serious Avery Bradey vibes from that clip. Killian Hayes wanted no part of Fast PP defensively, and it's pretty obvious why Brad plays him. Payton did a great job of being in Hayes' air space and being up on the ball, two things Brad preaches from his perimeter defenders do. It's not always going to be the highlight plays offensively that make Pritchard stand out, sometimes it's as simple as defensive possessions like that.

- At least it was nice to see Jeff Teague be able to score again. His 12 points on 4-5 shooting off the bench were a welcomed sight.

The Bad

- OK, that's enough of that. Now we can really get down to business. Where do we start. Well one thing that really bothered me was watching the Celtics get absolutely manhandled by a fucking Plumlee. What the shit is that? I'm going to be pretty honest here. I need Tristan Thompson to be able to handle a goddamn Plumlee. I feel like that's a reasonable expectation for a big that was supposed to come in here and solve some big man issues.

If I wanted to see a big guy get abused by a Plumlee I don't need to pay Tristan Thompson $9M to do it. I'm not sure there is a logica explanation for how Thompson can allow Plumlee to snag 5 OREB over him in the fourth quarter alone. Rebounding was supposed to be what Thompson brought this lineup. Figure it the fuck out.

- Speaking of lineups, we're pretty much at the time where the two big lineup to start games has to go. I don't know if this is a respect thing because Theis/Thompson are vets or what, but I've seen enough I think. The numbers speak for themselves. The two big starting lineup has played 56 minutes together. Here's how they are doing

Ortg: 94.4

Drtg: 113.7

Net Rating: -19.4

That is pathetic. If we narrow it down to just first quarters, it's not much better

Ortg: 102.9

Drtg: 106

Net Rating: -3

I'm not sure if Brad doesn't want to have to make the tough call and have a tough conversation, I don't know if they are just looking to give this group more of a sample size in order to figure things out, but just watch it. It's not working. The spacing is all fucked up for your two slashing wings. Theis isn't a PF because he really can't knock down an open three right now. He has to play the five where he's more comfortable as the roll man. 


- Why is it so hard for this team to execute 3 on 1 fast breaks. Why can nobody run those without it being a complete disaster? 

- Another close game, another game in which the Celtics miss a fuck ton of FTs. This time they went 7-14. Seems pretty important in a game you lost by 3 but what do I know. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart combined to go 3-8. They are your best FT shooters. Explain that.

- I really hope Robert Wiliams is OK after he collided knees. They said he was reportedly cleared to come back in, but I think we're all holding our breath here. It's pretty frustrating that here Rob is looking like a player taking a real step, and boom he gets hurt. 

- Can't say I loved the move with 2:50 left in the game when Brad swapped Jeff Teague out for Grant. At a time where the offense needed any sort of bucket, that felt like a weird time to make that move. Grant came in and missed all his shots, including some big ones. This is where I can understand the frustration with Brad's rotations. I just would like an explanation as to the thought process there. Especially when Teague was playing well at had only played 20 minutes. He couldn't play 22:50?

- For about 3/4 of this game we got Good Marcus Smart. In fact, his offense was keeping them in it during their slow start. But in the important moments, Good Smart was nowhere to be found. He went 0-3 in the fourth quarter, including this tough three

I have no problem when Smart takes threes. I have a problem when he takes threes he doesn't need to take. This was one of those moments. Smart's shot selection has been 1000x better to start the year, but this was a step in the wrong direction. I don't care if he's open here, at this stage of the game the only people who should be shooting are the two Jays. Period. 

To twist the knife even more, he then missed a pretty easy bunny that would have tied it

He would go on to finish 2-7 with 3 TOs in the second half. Not great.


- Bench got rocked 36-20. That seems problematic.

The Ugly

- I'm really going to need someone to explain this to me

Not only was this called an offensive foul, they upheld it after reviewing it! I'm sorry, but that is pretty clearly not a foul. Trae Young gets this call 15 times a game. Chris Paul has made a career with that move. It's not an offensive foul. Every game it seems like there is some bullshit that always seems to go against the Celts. It's most CERTAINLY not why they lost, but it still makes no goddamn sense. Especially to call it on someone like Jaylen who is balling his dick off. Grow up.

- I am confident in saying that the way the Celts started this game was the worst I've seen them play at any moment in the last 10 years. I don't even know if that does it justice. There is no excuse to come out of the gates and play like you do not give two shits. No energy, no effort on either end, the numbers are even more maddening. They finished with 26/16% shooting splits and 7 TOs. They had more TOs (7) than FGM (5). They got down by as much as 18 to a team that was missing their best player. 

We all know how important it is for this team to get off to good starts right? Well, they are tied for 28th in the NBA in first quarter turnovers. They are also 27th in first quarter points. Makes sense. 

- Now let's talk to where the game was truly lost. It was one of the more impressive things I've ever witnessed if you want to talk about a team choking. 

With 4:15 left in the fourth quarter, Jayson Tatum made a three to give the Celtics a 93-88 lead. They would not score at any point for the rest of the game. Here is how their shot selection went

Tatum missed 26ft three

Smart missed 28ft three

Grant missed three

Tatum missed 19fter

Jaylen missed 26ft three

Grant missed 13fter

Smart missed 27ft ft three

Tatum missed 24ft three

Smart missed 4ft layup

Jaylen missed 27ft three

Grant missed putback

They missed their final 11 FGA with 6 of them being threes. Now they weren't all bad looks. The Grant corner three, the Tatum corner three, and Jaylen's final shot were all fine. They were open. My problem though is more with the approach. This was the exact type of shit we saw this team do in the bubble against the Heat in their horrific collapses. 


Especially when the shots aren't dropping and you are in the last 1:50 of the game. Any points would have secured this win. But instead, it was more of the same. Chuck a three and hope it goes in. This team was more interested in going for the homerun play than executing the right way in a big moment. Clutch time execution has been an issue for this team now for two seasons. 

There was no offensive gameplan by Brad. Clearly. It's pretty clear he should stop doing that. But also it's on the players. How about someone recognize that this shit isn't working any take it on themselves to get a bucket? If we can all see it happening right in front of us, how can none of the players recognize what is going on? They are NBA veterans! They shouldn't need their coach to tell them to attack the rim. So fucking frustrating. So either Brad is putting too much faith in his players to play the right way, or he has no idea what to call in these situations. I don't love either option to be honest. 


It truly is remarkable to see a team go that long without scoring to lose a game against a team with dogshit defense. I didn't even know that was possible. I don't know how each and every player isn't embarrassed by that shit. I'm embarrassed for them.

I'm not sure if Blake Griffin will be out of the concussion protocol tomorrow, but just like the IND series this team needs a spit. You cannot lose both games to the Detroit Pistons. Throwing away these winnable games is going to come back to bite this team if they aren't careful. The seeding will be too close. So please, show up ready to play and for the love of god stop embarrassing yourself and the rest of us who have to deal with this shit online. 

I was told 2021 would be better. Well, I'm waiting to see it.