On Wednesday night the Celtics did something they’ve struggled to do all season Execute down the stretch and win a close game.
Not only that, but they had to fight hard every possession through the whole game. The Knicks are a tough team, so it was great to see the Celtics righting some wrongs after dropping a few close games in March.
Boston has been plagued by bad play in close games all season. Hero ball, careless turnovers, lifeless defense, the Celtics have (not) done it all. This win is a step in the right direction.
“We needed it,” said Marcus Smart following Wednesday’s win. “You know, those are the type of wins you know that really really makes a team and really helps a team get back on track. And we gotta continue to take this win and carry it on from here on out.”
If the Celtics are going to find any kind of success in the postseason, they need to keep playing with this kind of resolve. The team managed to grind out the win, overcoming 17 turnovers and several scoring droughts. Everybody made important contributions in the fourth, especially Tatum, Brown, and Smart.
Tatum had 7 points in the fourth and Brown had made a huge tough layup over Julius Randle late. Meanwhile, Smart made huge baskets with both a layup off an offensive rebound and the game winning three.
The game wasn’t perfect, and Brad Stevens’ remarks in his press conference insisted that he likes that. “That’s one of our better wins on the year all things considered, because of the way that our guys had to figure out a way to win.” The Celtics should absolutely keep this game on the back of their minds as proof they can clutch up when it matters.
The season is approaching its end. The Celtics are currently in the play-in tournament. It’s crucial for them to build some momentum right now. Not just that, but it’s important for a young team like this to have experience with games like this. A lot of the Celtics’ wins have come in the form of blowouts. Winning tough gives this team more confidence and experience to go out and succeed.