This game against the defending champs wasn’t supposed to go well. No Al Horford. No Jae Crowder. Still no Kelly Olynyk. Cleveland was expected to steamroll us, but they didn’t. There were points of the game when the Cavs were up 10, 15 points. But the final score says a lot. 128-122 was the final score. There were times we were down by about 20 points but found a way to fight our way back, even if it was only for a little bit. We were not supposed to win this game, but heart and hustle never kept the C’s out of it. Here are the goods and bads of the game.
- Jaylen Brown got his first NBA start with Jae Crowder sidelined, and boy did he not disappoint. Brown finished with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and a block. Hell, he even cashed three of his six attempted three-pointers. The most impressive part was that he was going up against LeBron James, the best player in the world. He knew what he was getting himself into, but was excited about the challenge and was ready to show out.
Jaylen had his hands full, but he delivered. His hustle and defensive efforts were superb. He was fighting for rebounds and going for steals with only seconds left in the game. If this kid were a consistent starter, he’d be a serious contender for Rookie of the Year. He’s already ranked second, but there’s no doubt he’d be atop of the list year round if he were a starter. I look at this game as the “Jaylen Brown game.” Sure we lost, but we saw what Jaylen is capable of, and he did all this against LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Keep your head held high, Boston fans. This kid is going to be special, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for him.
And get this, LeBron praised the rookie, even after Jaylen took him baseline and dunked on him. Respect.
- Isaiah Thomas keeps proving why he’s an elite point guard and should be treated like one. He finished with 30 points and six assists while going a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. He’s now up to averaging over 25 points and seven assists a game. Isaiah is an All-Star, there is no debating it at this point. He helps this team in so many ways and continues to be the top scoring option. His ability to drive to the basket and make tough, contested shots is so rare for not only a player of his size but for any player in general. He draws contact so easily, thanks to his height, and has the ability to take over games with the snap of a finger. Although he always steps up to the plate and performs well, he needs to continue to put up these kinds of numbers with all these injuries. Isaiah is up there with some of the best point guards in the league, and I think it’s time people start treating him like one of the best.
- Avery Bradley’s All-Star campaign is still going strong. 26 points and ten rebounds for the seventh-year guard is starting to become a common thing. He’s leading the team in rebounds and is second on the team in scoring. He’s improved so much this season, and it’s so easy to see. He’s become such a huge part of this team, not only defensively, but offensively as well. Just looking at how far he’s come from when he first entered the league to now is unreal. I can’t wait to see his name listed as an All-Star later in the season, as well as a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
- We only got to the free throw line 22 times, compared to Cleveland’s 37, but we made 86.4% of our free throws. I’ll talk about the attempts later, but I like the percentage.
- 56 points in the paint were nice to see. Not all our shots were falling, especially from three, so taking it to the paint and converting was a huge plus.
- There was a lot of bad this game, so we’ll get started with Tyler Zeller. In his second start of the season, he looked silly out there. He finished with 11 points, ten rebounds, and six assists, but Cleveland made him look stupid. Tristan Thompson damn near took his life with a posterizing dunk, so there’s that.
Tyler Zeller CAN be a solid player, but let’s be real, he shouldn’t be starting on this team. In my opinion, he shouldn’t see more than 15 minutes of the court when he comes off the bench. Once Al and Kelly come back, his minutes will go down and so will life-threatening experiences like the one above.
- Besides Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the bench was weak once again. 33 points in total were scored from the bench, 21 coming from Smart and Rozier. It’s clear to see these injuries are hurting us, no surprise there. Not having Jaylen and Zeller *sigh* coming off the bench leaves us at a huge disadvantage. We need our guys back ASAP, especially you Kelly… Especially you.
- Defending the three point shot was difficult for the Celtics this game. The Cavs started the game shooting 11-18 from three, that alone is tough to come back from. They finished shooting 41 percent (14-34) from three. They cooled down as the game went on, but the C’s can not allow shooting numbers like that.
- The Cavaliers attempted 37 free throws last night and made 32 of them. That’s horrendous. That’s disgusting to note. The Cavs shot 15 more free throws than us and won by six. Isaiah made up for 14 of our 22 free throw attempts. WE NEED TO GET TO THE FREE THROW LINE. PLEASE CAN SOMEBODY OTHER THAN ISAIAH GET TO THE LINE. We aren’t winning any games where an opponent goes 32-37 from the free throw line, ever.
- Going off of that, the calls were terrible, but what can you expect when you’re playing LeBron and company on their home court. There is one play in particular that I’d like to point out; LeBron goes for a layup and misses. It was a good defensive possession, and no foul was called. LeBron proceeds to scream at the ref (gets no tech) and not get back on defense. Next play LeBron drives to the basket once again and gets a foul called where there should’ve been a no-call. I know that’s how it goes, and it’s LeBron, but the refs need to at least try not to make it so obvious that they’re LeBron’s you know what.
- And yeah, this happened. He missed the shot though, so did it really happen?
Although there were more bads than goods this game, in my opinion, I’m not mad about the loss. I’m not upset because this game showed a lot about this Celtics team. WE CAN compete with the Cavaliers. We were down early and for most of the game, but kept fighting our way back into it and only lost by six. Jaylen Brown showed how much potential he has, and Isaiah and AB continued to dominate. Give me a healthy team and this would’ve been a completely different game. Once Al, Crowder, and Olynyk come back, we’re going to be scary good. We only lost by six to Lebron and the defending NBA champs. I like our odds with a fully healthy squad.
RJ, I still miss you buddy. We would’ve won if you were still on the team, promise.
Five down, 77 to go. On to Denver. #3-2 #AllAbout18