Roadblock vs. magic weekend should not pay attention to the attack of si


Boston – The Boston Celtics hit a surprising snag this weekend with their first two home losses of the season – both at the hands of the 11-20 Orlando Magic. It’s not the type of barrier, though, that should deviate the C’s from the historic pace they ran through the first quarter of the season.


Despite holding well below his league scoring average in both games, with a 117-109 loss on Friday night and a 95-92 rout on Sunday afternoon, Boston’s offense was still flowing and generating an open appearance. The team simply wasn’t taking advantage of its opportunities.

The C’s had two of the season’s three-fewest 3-point clips in consecutive games, shooting 23.9 percent in the first game and 25.5 percent in the second. For a team leading the league with long-term efficiency, this is nothing more than bad luck.

Despite scoring a season-low 34.8 percent on Sunday afternoon, Boston almost snuck away with a win while playing without MVP candidate Jason Tatum, who was absent for personal reasons.

“I thought we played a very good game against a good basketball team,” said interim head coach Joe Mazzola of the Orlando team, which has now won six in a row. “We got a lot of great looks and I thought we did a lot of great things on defence. In a close play situation you can always focus on the last four or five possessions, but there are a lot of teaching points, good and bad, throughout the game.”

Outside of some poor execution late in the game, Jaylen Brown took a lot of positives away from the game and considered it one of his unfortunate collegiate shooting days.

“The amount of assists we got tonight, I didn’t think it was indicative of how we were playing,” he said, referring to his 22 assists on 31 field passes. “The ball was moving around, the guys were good looking and open shots. It was just one of those nights where they didn’t go down, but we got what we wanted. I missed a lot of shots I could have taken and they were open. A lot of our guys missed shots.” We made it open. So we have to keep cheering for those shots. But I felt like it was just one of those games where you felt a lid on the edge.”

Brown’s 40 percent shooting clip was actually the best among Boston players, finishing with team highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds. But for a guy who’s shot more than 50 percent in a season, it definitely felt like an off night.

Realistically, this will happen. Sometimes one of the leading scorers can do poorly, other times the whole team is down.

An experienced team understands this and can bypass such offers. Grant Williams thinks this Celtics squad is one of those teams.

“You’re not expected to be perfect, and we don’t expect anyone on the team to be perfect,” said Williams, who scored 14 points, six rebounds and three assists while starting in place of Tatum. “It’s something I’ve grown with over the years of understanding how tough we need to be mentally, because on this team, the biggest weakness is going to be how we affect ourselves and what we do to each other, and it’s less important what other people are going to do to us. We just have to make sure we That we understand what we’re trying to achieve and go out there and do it because we’ve done it, we’ve proven we can do it, and we’ll continue to do it.”

Having this kind of confidence is the answer to getting out of such a rut. The C’s have seen a large enough sample size to know they’re one of the best teams in the league, but even the best groups will fall victim to the law of averages from time to time.

Boston will now have two days off to rewarm its hands before it continues its season-long, seven-game home game Wednesday night against Indiana.

“I think we’ll have the next game against the Pacers,” Williams said, “and we’ll take full advantage of dropping these batters and still trusting each other.”

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