The Celtics did not deserve to win on Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns. Not based on how they played for the first 3 and 1/2 quarters of the game. But they sure needed to.
Boston avoided falling to oh-and-3 on their 5 game road trip and dodged what would have been a hideous loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA with a come from behind 116-109 overtime win. The Celtics trailed by as many as 22 in this one and were down 14 with 3:31 to play and 8 with under 1:30 but closed on a furious run to force overtime thanks to a Marcus Morris three with .3 seconds left in regulation.
The Celtics closed the final 5:30 of regulation on a 24-8 run
End of 4: Boston 100, Phoenix 100
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) November 9, 2018
Kyrie Irving was an absolute monster finishing with 39 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He carried the Celtics in OT and came up with a key block on Devon Booker in the extra frame as well.
Here’s 5 other takeaways on the night.
The Kobe Effect?
Jayson Tatum may have just playeed his worst game as a pro. He didn’t score his first bucket till the 4th quarter and finished with only 4 points on the night. He has been struggling with shot selection the last few games and was benched in favor of Marcus Smart to start the second half for what appeared to be lack of effort. At least that’s what assistant coach Micah Shrewsbury told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin at halftime.
#Celtics change up the starting lineup a bit in the 2nd half: Irving, Smart, Brown, Hayward and Horford. Micah Shrewsberry told me, we’re just looking for 5 guys who’re gonna play hard… effort is non-negotiable.
— Abby Chin (@tvabby) November 9, 2018
Marcus Smart was also very vocal during the game and apparently halftime as well, tearing into the team for it’s lack of effort.
“I think I speak for everybody, it frustrates all of us, sports told reporters after the game via MassLive. We all know we can give a little bit more, each and every last one of us. And it’s just sad to see us not giving that. It’s sad that it takes something like that for us to be down like that to do that. We’ve got to figure out how to get ourselves going early and not let ourselves get in that predicament. I’ve seen what we can do, what we’re capable of when we’re locked in, and it’s frustrating to watch. Sitting on the bench it’s frustrating to watch those guys out there. It’s frustrating to get out there and feel the energy out there. I just tried to give a little pep talk, whatever you may take it as, to get us going.”
Celtics Missing Open Looks
Celtics down 32-13.
To the Phoenix Suns.
4-22 FG (18.2%)
1-8 3-PT FG (12.5%)
Terry Rozier with a team BEST -7 in 3 minutes.
— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) November 9, 2018
Hayward Limps Back to Utah Literally and Figuratively
Gordon Hayward played his usual allotment of minutes (25) and was nowhere to be seen during the Celtics 4th quarter comeback and overtime. Hayward – like every Celtics starter not named Kyrie – did not score in the first half. He finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
If he checks out ok medically speaking Hayward will play tomorrow night in Utah, his first game back since spurning the Jazz to sign with the Celtics two summers ago. Utah has moved on just fine without Hayward while the Celtics are still waiting to make good on their investment.
Up 3 Late You Should ALWAYS Foul
The Suns blew it late by not fouling the Celtics on the last possession. Kyrie had the ball in his hands in no position to shoot and 2 defenders collapsed on him but opted not to foul. Kyrie passed out of the double to an open Marcus Morris who nailed the game tying 3.
For what it’s worth Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said after the game that his players were instructed to foul but they did not.
Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said after the game the Suns had been told to foul on the final possession. Despite having multiple chances to — including when Marcus Morris had his back to the basket — Phoenix did not. The Suns paid the price.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 9, 2018
No Action Jackson
Remember when Josh Jackson stood up Danny Ainge prior to the 2016 NBA Draft? Well, Boston got over that pretty quickly after seeing what they had in Tatum but Jackson has really fallen off a cliff. The second year forward no longer starts for the Suns and his minutes are dwindling. He played 5 minutes on Thursday night, 7 the night before. He has played no more than 13 minutes in a game the entire month. Jackson is averaging 7.6 PPG on 37 percent shooting and only 24 percent from 3. For as much as Tatum has struggled recently all Celtics fans can be thankful Jackson is not the one who ended up wearing green.
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