Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Something is brewing with Jaylen Brown: Brown was asked after the loss to the Washington Wizards why the ball wasn’t moving. His answer: “no comment.”
After this loss to New Orleans, he was asked why the offense stagnates after the opposing defense shuts down the first action. His answer: “no comment.”
Well, at some point the no comments become comments, and considering both questions had to do with the ball not moving well, that tells me there’s something here. Especially when he did actually answer the question of whether this loss was more mental by saying “we’ve just got to mature and grow up. We were really moving and getting guys involved… That’s one of the things that I’ve been trying to do, to look to get other guys involved. I think that’s better for our team, but definitely gotta come out and find ways to win. We dropped the ball tonight.”
So Brown won’t comment on the ball not moving, and he won’t comment on the offense stagnating, but he will say that he’s been trying to move the ball and get guys involved.
Brown had 9 of Boston’s 22 assists in this game. Brown took four shots in the fourth quarter.
John Karalis prefaces this portion of his column as a take he’ll probably regret, but I think he’s on to something.
Brown isn’t targeting Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis, or any other role player with his passive-aggressive comments. This insinuation involves a) Jayson Tatum b) Kemba Walker c) Brad Stevens or d) all of the above.
In another story, John explains how the Celtics are failing to adjust to teams blitzing Tatum in 4th quarters:
They never switched from pick-and-rolls to dribble handoffs, where the big could have faked, watched two defenders go to Tatum, and then turned the corner for a layup attempt. They never got creative with their picks-and-rolls by making Tatum the pick-setter or Brown the pick-setter with Tatum and forcing the defense to decide whether leaving Brown alone was the better option.
Everyone knows the NBA is a make or miss league (and the Celtics missed a ton yesterday). But when your three best players are missing shots regularly (22 for 68, 32%) and struggling against a particular scheme, shouldn’t the coach shake things up?
And when the defensive effort disappears consistently, don’t you have to look to the coach? As we all know, coaching is much more than x’s and o’s.
I’m not absolving the players in this fiasco. Like John and the Globe’s Gary Washburn, I’m just openly wondering what the heck Stevens is doing to stop it.
Prior to yesterday’s game, Brad reminded the world that his GM handed him a flawed roster:
“I’ve said this all year: One of the challenges of our team is that you get past our best perimeter players, and the next probably three best guys as far as production goes so far on our team are, at first blush, 5s,” Stevens said.
It’s getting ugly folks. So ugly that I’m expecting Wyc Grousbeck to emerge from the shadows and issue one of those everybody is on notice statements.
Related links: Red’s Army – Rapid Recap: Celtics force OT, but can’t reverse collapse vs Pels | Globe – Celtics are a mediocre team until they prove otherwise | Observations from another late Celtics collapse | The Athletic – Celtics hit new low in loss to Pelicans | NBC Sports Boston – It’s been a nauseating ride with these roller coaster Celtics
On Page 2, TimeLord shines on national TV.
Time Lord finished with 8 points, 13 rebounds, and the four blocks despite playing just 21 minutes off the bench.
However, his teammates think that his performance and understanding of how he needs to play are improving, so perhaps that could earn him more playing time moving forward.
“He’s understanding the game more and it’s showing with his productivity out there on the court,” Jayson Tatum said of Williams, per Souichi Terada of MassLive.com. “He’s tough to guard because he gets out the roll quick, obviously can play really high above the rim. He has an amazing feel for the game. When he tips it out, or rebounds he can get in a roll and know where to pass it.”
So it’s time to hand Williams a boatload more playing time, right? Wrong.
While Williams is technically healthy, the Celtics remain concerned with the artery condition in his hip. They are managing his minutes in the hopes of slowly building up his playing time.
And finally, Marcus Smart’s return is weeks away.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is likely to continue rehabilitating his left calf strain through the March 5-10 All-Star break with hopes of returning to the lineup for the start of the season’s second half, sources told ESPN.
The Celtics are 5-7 without Smart in the lineup since his injury, and he would presumably miss six more games through the end of the first half of the season on March 4.
And the hits just keep on coming…