1. The year 2021 Boston Celtics lose the game on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Very likely in a blowout. They would have let go of the rope, maybe caught a few throws and it would have ended badly.
The current Celtics were frustrated for most of the game. Actually for about 35 minutes playing time. Boston couldn’t get a shot, they were upset with the lead and their energy was pretty low from the jump.
Jaylen Brown did a good job keeping Boston within striking distance with 24 points in the first three quarters. Then everyone else showed up with about a minute to play in the third quarter.
This was by no means the Celtics’ best win of the year. But they showed struggle, courage and unity. Being able to get out of their own heads and pick up energy levels again were signs of growth. And they’ve done well during the crisis, which is slowly becoming a welcome trend.
This is how Boston made it to its seventh win in a row.
2. After the game, Marcus Smart and others called on Payton Pritchard and Derrick White to gather energy and get the team going. Jayson Tatum said Pritchard is just willing to contribute whenever he gets the chance.
Pritchard started with this deep three-pointer late in the third quarter that produced a string of 11 straight misses from behind the arc for Boston:
Pritchard and White then teamed up for this steal to end the quarter and give the Celtics some life into the closing period:
3. To open the fourth quarter, White made life miserable for the Thunder Ballhandlers. Check out how early White reads this opportunity for stealing before going the other way and getting a couple of free throws:
A little later, White victimizes Josh Giddey again with another pick and a layup:
4. It wasn’t a good night of filming for Jayson Tatum. He couldn’t find the range on his sweater the entire game. But Tatum has made some adjustments. He started going downhill as the game progressed. He was 6 of 10 in the suit, including 4 of 4 in the fourth quarter. Tatum also earned 10 free throw attempts. That means finding a way to score if your shot doesn’t come off.
Here’s a good example of Tatum not calming down. He comes off the screen and instead of pulling himself up, Tatum uses an inside-out dribble to get in the paint for a floater through contact:
5. Al Horford made a great game. On several occasions, Horford was the one to pull his teammates out of the mud when they were upset about the administration. He also delivered an excellent 1-on-1 defense in isolation against one of the NBA’s top scorers.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander excels at being smooth in color and getting to the rim through the smallest possible gaps. Horford’s first task is to keep Gilgeous-Alexander in front of him. Mission accomplished. From then on, Horford must stay on top of the two fakes before he can do the difficult fallaway. This is great thing:
About a minute later it’s the same setup. Again, Horford does a great job keeping Gilgeous-Alexander from getting past him. Check out how wide Horford can get when he expands his full wingspan. He then denies Gilgeous-Alexander with a difficult step-back three-pointer to force another miss:
6. Between those two Al Horford stops, Jayson Tatum was all alone in the middle of a thunder zone. Marcus Smart waited just long enough to find the right angle for the pass and Tatum hammered it through very loudly to level the game:
7. Marcus Smart was dominant throughout the stretch of this game. Smart had 10 points, three rebounds and four assists in the fourth quarter. This was a very difficult turn in relation to Lu Dort:
Smart is feeling pretty good now, so this is a great start, a nice find from Al Horford (but behind the DPOY line!):
Confidence is now overflowing from Smart. This is a great competition from there, but it’s bringing up the rear for Smart:
8. Derrick “Dagger” White gave the Celtics some breathing room with this confident move late in the shot clock:
9. Marcus Smart trusts his magical left hand as much as Boston loves and trusts him:
10. To cap off the comeback, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White teamed up to break the Oklahoma City press to basically end it here:
11. Boston has the best record in the NBA at 11-3. They have now won seven games in a row. The Celtics embark on a three-game road trip on Wednesday. All three games look pretty tough, but for now the focus is only on that Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks played well and just took that down Milwaukee Bucks.
If the Celtics want to extend their winning streak to eight games, they need to be focused and ready from the start. But after this comeback, we know they have the ability to pick themselves up if need be. Resilience and finding a way are acquired qualities, and Boston has them.