Joe Mazzulla continues to harp on the little issues and the margins however they’re not getting by way of to his crew. The Celtics hold constructing double-digit leads and blowing them.
The Celtics clinched a playoff spot on Saturday evening due to the Heat’s loss to the Bulls but it surely received’t matter if these issues persist.
The identical film retains enjoying again and again for the Celtics, who’re caught in impartial because the playoffs close to. An evening after they appeared to be constructing some constructive momentum on this highway journey with a win over the Blazers, the Celtics fell again into unhealthy habits and let their foot off the gasoline once more. They responded in stretches however couldn’t overcome their flaws as they dropped one other essential recreation with a irritating 118-117 loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City.
The Celtics trailed by one with 5 seconds left and the ball, however Grant Williams – who was in any other case having a redemption evening after hitting a career-high seven 3-pointers – acquired the ball on a damaged play name and attacked the rim for a game-winning try, however was blocked by Walker Kessler to seal the loss.
“We just didn’t execute as well as we needed to, to win,” Mazzulla informed reporters in Utah.
With the loss, the Celtics dropped to 3rd within the Eastern Conference behind the 76ers on proportion factors with 10 video games left within the common season.
Jaylen Brown scored 25 factors and Williams had 23. The Celtics made 22 3-pointers. But Jayson Tatum continued his inconsistent play for the reason that All-Star break with simply 15 factors, which all got here within the second quarter. The Celtics shot 43.1 % from 3-point land, however beforehand 29-0 when capturing at the very least 40 % from lengthy vary, they dropped their first largely as a result of they couldn’t deal with Utah on the glass. In a well-known theme, they allowed a season-high 17 offensive rebounds that led to twenty second-chance factors.
The Celtics have been undermanned – with out Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Robert Williams – and have been enjoying the second evening of a again to again. But that didn’t cease them from constructing a 19-point lead halfway by way of the second quarter that was erased in brief order because the Jazz went on a 48-22 run between the tip of the primary half and third quarter as they went forward by seven late within the third.
Mazzulla thought the Celtics let go of the rope defensively. That affected their offense, too, as open appears to be like didn’t go down.
“Our physicality waned,” Williams stated. “We started playing a little more passively. … Physicality definitely could have not waned. I think when we got up, we didn’t do a good job of maintaining that same effort and physicality on the defensive end, and our offense stalled. We were getting all the looks that we wanted, we just stopped making shots. … It probably would have looked different if those shots would have fallen a little bit.”
The Celtics responded with a 16-6 run to finish the third and after Rudy Gay tied it at 95 on a 3-pointer early within the fourth, they responded once more with a 7-0 run behind strong bench minutes from Malcolm Brogdon. Williams’ 3-point surge – he made 4 triples within the fourth – saved Lauri Markkanen and the Jazz at arm’s size however the Celtics in the end succumbed to their rebounding points.
Williams missed a 3 that would have put the Celtics up seven with lower than two minutes to go earlier than Brown dedicated a Flagrant 1 foul, which gave the Jazz an additional probability after Kessler missed each free throws. They capitalized and minimize their deficit to at least one on Ochai Agbaji’s three with 1:33 left. Williams then discovered Brown for a 3-pointer to revive the result in 4, but it surely was in the end the Celtics’ last factors of the sport. Markkanen answered with a 3, after which after a Tatum miss, Talen Horton-Tucker’s layup gave the Jazz a one-point lead with 35.3 seconds remaining.
Going for a two-for-one alternative, Tatum unleashed a fast 3-pointer that missed – Mazzulla described it as a “great shot” – earlier than Horton-Tucker dedicated a turnover on the finish of the shot clock with 5 seconds left. Mazzulla referred to as timeout and drew up a play for Tatum that was designed as a dribble handoff for him, however the Jazz defended it completely and compelled Williams to make a play after receiving the inbounds go on the prime of the lane.
“I took the dribble, tried to look up and see if anyone was available,” Williams informed reporters. “By then there were probably three seconds left on the clock. … I was like, I have to get a shot up at least. I tried to make contact with Walker in traffic and try to get the ball up on the glass so we could get an offensive rebound and tip.”
It didn’t work, the ball sailed away and the Celtics suffered their newest irritating loss.
It wasn’t the final play that value the Celtics this recreation. A mix of defensive lapses, offensive shortcomings – significantly Tatum failing to attain a degree within the second half – continued rebounding woes and lack of focus and execution all piled up. Just like expensive losses are all piling up at an unideal stage of the season.
“When you lose a close game, it could be anything,” Mazzulla informed reporters. “There’s a lot of possessions throughout a game and that was a playoff game. We just have to understand that whether it’s the second quarter, third quarter or fourth quarter, possessions where you’re not detailed can come back to hurt you.”