A second half collapse: 10 Takeaways from Boston Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers

1. The Boston Celtics aren’t a foul basketball workforce. However they aren’t precisely an excellent one in the mean time both.

A nasty defensive sport or two to open the season isn’t a lot to get frightened about. 5 consecutive poor defensive video games are fairly worrisome, nonetheless.

Maybe worst of all, the dearth of offensive execution that plagued the “previous” Celtics got here again late. The ball received sticky, sloppy turnovers occurred, and it resulted in a loss.

2. You would form of inform issues would possibly get sideways on Boston firstly of the third quarter. Postgame, Al Horford mentioned, “I felt like the start of the third we didn’t come out in the appropriate mindset.” That feels fairly spot-on.

The quarter opened with Jaylen Brown forcing a contested fallaway after dribbling away many of the clock:

3. The second possession of the third quarter, Marcus Good took this contested step-back three with half of the shot-clock remaining:

4. On the third possession of the third quarter, Jayson Tatum ran right into a cost after one other messy offensive set.

5. On the fourth play of the third quarter, Jaylen Brown misplaced the ball out of bounds on this drive:

4 empty possessions in a row. The Celtics had a 12-point halftime lead, and the Cavs didn’t rating on their three possessions to open the second half. If Boston had scored on even a few these possessions, they could have buried Cleveland and received the sport.

6. Turnovers…ugh. So many turnovers. 19 giveaways, together with 10 mixed from Jaylen Brown (six) and Jayson Tatum (4).

Boston shot 51.2% from the sector for the sport. They had been 26-of-32 from the free throw line. That ought to be sufficient to win in a blowout. However tossing away roughly a sixth of their possessions is a recipe for catastrophe.

7. Additionally disastrous is the Celtics protection. Sure, Boston is lacking Robert Williams. However all the different parts of final season’s Finals workforce are mainly there. What isn’t there’s the scheme or the execution from a 12 months in the past.

For no matter motive, the Celtics have gone away from the switch-everything coverages that made them a traditionally particular protection a 12 months in the past. As an alternative, it’s this odd mixture of drop protection and asking gamers to combat by way of screens. Over and time and again, ballhandlers are strolling into open jumpers. Or, worse, they’re getting straight traces to the rim.

What spurred this alteration in scheme is unknown. It may well’t all be that Williams is lacking, as a result of Boston continued to modify every little thing on the finish of final common season, in addition to all through the playoffs when Williams was out. It’s actually solely a query that Joe Mazzulla can reply.

As well as, defensive rebounding has been dangerous for Boston. Al Horford must be higher than this. Getting beat to the board by Caris LeVert is one factor. Turning to yell at somebody as an alternative of closing out to LeVert on the arc is one other factor solely. This can be a uncommon lapse in judgement from Boston’s regular veteran:

8. The Celtics had 24 assists by way of three quarters. That’s a very, actually good fee. The ball was popping, the drive-and-kick sport was working and Boston was scoring at will.

Within the fourth quarter, the Celtics had one help.

As every little thing crumbled, they reverted to the Celtics of previous. All one-pass, followed-by-a-contested-jumper possessions.

Jayson Tatum noticed three photographs throughout his 6:49 of fourth-quarter play. A type of was the tried game-winner on the buzzer. The opposite two had been a missed three-pointer and a missed floater.

Boston’s star had 30 factors on 10-of-14 taking pictures by way of the primary three quarters. Then he took simply three photographs throughout your entire fourth quarter. It’s completely non-sensical to not get him extra touches.

9. The very last thing we wish to give attention to listed here are the minutes totals. Jaylen Brown performed 42:48. Jayson Tatum performed 42:11. And shockingly, Al Horford went 41:25.

These are all manner too excessive in an October sport for a workforce that hopes to play into late-June.

Positive, Boston was coming off of three days off, however they’ve 4 video games over the following week. It’s far too early to be placing this sort of load onto the workforce’s finest gamers. Brown and Tatum will probably be superb. Besides Brown tends to select up nagging accidents, and Tatum admitted to being fatigued by the tip of the Finals. And this workforce wants Horford if they’re going to be an actual contender. Even with different bigs unavailable, he can’t be going 40-plus minutes. Discover one other manner, both with present personnel, or by bringing in some totally different guys who can decide 10-Quarter-hour an evening.

10. This isn’t as dangerous as final 12 months’s uneven mess of a workforce. However someway, it nearly feels worse. That’s as a result of everyone knows the Celtics can, and will, be higher than this. It may well’t all be “Wait till Rob will get again”, as a result of that’s: 1. Too far-off and a couple of. Unsure as to when it is going to occur.

Boston has to repair the protection. The offense must play the appropriate manner for 48 minutes. Not simply the primary 36-40. Joe Mazzulla wants to begin taking timeouts and cease letting so a lot of them whither on the vine.

In any other case, this received’t simply really feel worse than final season’s October by way of December mess. It will likely be worse, as a result of there are actual expectations this season. It’s nonetheless early, nevertheless it received’t keep that manner for lengthy.

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