The Celtics improved to 6-3 on the season with a 107-105 nail biting win on the road at Miami. Here are 15 observations:
1. The legend of Payton Pritchard continues to grow. As Marcus Smart drove to the rim and put up a shot with 3 seconds to go. Bam Adebayo slid over to help on the play forcing Goran Dragic to help on Daniel Theis near the rim. This left Pritchard wide open on the play. Payton wasn’t looking for a spot up. He was already cutting to the lane making himself available for a putback opportunity. Smart came up short and Payton was there to give Boston the lead with 0.2 seconds and ultimately the win.
2. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown started the game strong with 17 of the team’s 34 first quarter points and assisted on 12 more points. Jaylen was hitting tough shots in the first quarter. He cooled off after the first and finished 8-of-23 shooting for 21 points. Tatum had a game high 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting.
3. As good as Tatum was offensively, he was a big part of the reason the Celtics 10-point lead 105-95 with 1:17 to go was erased just 54 seconds later. Tatum was on Duncan Robinson for both of his made 3’s in that span. He let Duncan get a really good look off a dribble handoff. Bucket. Next possession, Tatum got caught too close to the paint and ball watched Bam Adebayo under the rim. Bam kicks it out to the corner to Duncan who was spotting up. And-1 made three by Duncan and the 10-point led is down to just 3 in just 39 seconds.
4. “The NBA is a game of runs.” Boston went on a 13-0 run to get that 10-point lead late in the 4th quarter. Miami answers with a 10-0 run to tie it. Boston makes 1 more play to win it.
5. Brown had 21 points but was 8-of-23 shooting. He started with a red hot first quarter with 9 points on 4-of-7 shooting. JB shot 4-of-16 for the rest of the game.
6. Despite the cold three-quarters of a game shooting wise, Brown drilled the game’s second most important shot. Game tying three to make it 95-95. Huge momentum play.
7. The Celtics won the game despite only having 12 free throw attempts to the Heat’s 26.
8. I don’t have any stats to back this up but feel like Tatum has grown in recognizing mismatches. Early in the game he noticed Duncan Robinson was on him. That was obviously an easy bucket. Tatum backed him down from the right wing, dribbled to the middle of the paint for a running floater over the outstretched Bam Adebayo.
9. Brian Scalabrine made a great point during the broadcast on NBC Sports Boston. Brown and Tatum are becoming balanced scorers. I’m not sure how a coach would gameplan against Tatum and Brown other than potentially doubling them to get the rock out of their hands
10. This was a real fourth quarter lineup that I’m sure you all saw coming: Carsen Edwards, Payton Pritchard, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis.
11. Smart had four first-half fouls, with all coming in the second quarter. Marcus had an all time bad foul and I’m sure he would admit it was a dumb one. Tyler Herro was dribbling up court 60+ feet from the basket with less than a second to go. He pulls up for a last second heave. Marcus decides to reach his hand in to effect the shot. 3 shots for Herro to trim the Celtics 10-point lead to 8 at halftime.
12. Edwards rarely gets meaningful minutes and when called upon Wednesday night, he had a good showing in just nine minutes. Edwards ran the floor in transition for two easy buckets.
13. Pritchard to Robert Williams is going to be a fun duo going forward off the bench. If you make yourself available at or near the rim, Pritchard will find you.
14. The game nearly didn’t happen due to the lack of charges in the Kenosha Police Department shooting of Jacob Blake and Wednesday’s events at the U.S Capital building. “To be honest, at 30 minutes, I didn’t think we were playing,” Brad Stevens said postgame. The Celtics and Heat in one locker room to discuss their approach for the night and did choose to release a statement.
“And then the coaches left the room, players finished talking and chose to play,” Stevens said. “I called my wife and told her “I don’t think we’re playing.” And 10 minutes later we had decided to.”
15. I hope Boston appreciates Brown and Tatum on the court but also for the men these guys are off the court. The guys chose to speak together in the postgame media session after a tough day for Americans, especially those in the black community with the recent developments in the Jacob Blake-Kenosha Police Department case in addition to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“In one America, you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard,” Brown said. “And then in another America, you get to storm the Capitol and no tear gas, no massive arrests, none of that. So I think it’s obvious, it’s 2021, I don’t think anything has changed. We want to still acknowledge that. We want to still push for the change that we’re looking for. But as of yet, we have not seen it. We want to continue to keep conversations alive and do our part.”
I just feel like the same energy should be kept as when we see our people peacefully protesting for things that we see our people getting murdered on TV and live and videos,” Tatum said. “And they’re protesting the Capitol, or rioting the Capitol for losing an election. It’s two different things. And I want the same energy on TV to be, you know, ‘they’re thugs’ and ‘they’re criminals,’ the same terms that they use when they see our people protesting for losing our lives. I think it’s bigger than basketball, it’s bigger than the game today.”
"But using this platform that we have is important to us,” Brown said. “We are role models, we are members of our community, we do have people looking up to us, and we want the next generation to know where we stand. We want the next generation to know like, hopefully it’s better than this one. So we want to continue to keep those conversations alive. We want to compartmentalize, but at the same time, we want to voice our opinions through the media, through our platforms, through our influence to let people know this is not okay.”
"We’re role models,” Tatum said. “More than just basketball players, and our platform is huge. It would be wrong if we didn’t take advantage of that, the opportunities that we have and just to speak for all the people that don’t have voices like we do and share the same emotions and feelings that we’re feeling.”
I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man in America and I imagine it’s a difficult experience right now. I feel like these guys were truly hurt by what they had recently seen and angered that they yet again had to speak on it in a media appearance.
The Celtics have the day off before returning home to host the red hot Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards Friday night.