The Celtics pulled off a great win on the road, with having played last night. The game was tight down the stretch, but they made the plays they had to make to get the win. One thing about Coach Stevens is that if you give him a team of players for a couple weeks they will improve quickly. Stevens’ team over the last couple weeks has not been the team he was expecting to have. There have been a lot of adjustments, but they seem to be figuring things out.
There were a lot more positives in my game-card tonight than negatives. So, let’s take a look at what positive made the cut.
The 15th man had a positive impact
Screenshot from the csnne feed
The Celtics are officially 15 players deep, as James Young performed solidly tonight. Young was 5-6 from the field with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals in just 16 minutes of action. Young had a lot of quality hustle plays to top it off. Even though Young is playing in his third season, he is still just 21 years old. If he can turn the corner from being a raw prospect, to being productive, Young may actually earn himself a roster spot beyond this season.
The Celtics won the rebound battle
Getty Images: Ron Hoskins
There were still some embarrassing rebounding moments, but the Celtics actually held their own on the glass. Tonight’s key contributors were Amir (9), Bradley (8) again, and Olynyk, Zeller, and Rozier all pitched in with 6 a piece. Indiana was without it’s second best rebounder in Paul George, but any rebounding victories count these days.
The Celtics get their first win on the second game of a back-to-back
Last season, the Celtics calling card was playing great on these second games of back-to-backs. This season they lost their first two opportunities to carry over last season’s success. So far this season, the Celtics have struggled maintaining their identity of being a tough, hard working team. These last two victories have shown that they are starting to get their identity back. It’s not all good either, as the Celtics’ shooting numbers have dropped off these last two games. But, the results in the win-loss column are all that matter.
Jaylen Brown’s playing time is getting reduced
Jaylen Brown only put in seven minutes of work tonight. He pulled in 2 rebounds and 1 assist in those seven minutes. He also failed to put up any points, as he went 0-1 from the field. Brown is still feeling out the game, and he has a lot to learn when it comes to team basketball. If and when the Celtics get Crowder and Horford back, Brown may be struggling to find minutes with this team. There may even come a time where he might spend some time in Maine. That’s alright in my book. He has a ton of talent, a great head on his shoulders, and good work ethic. If he studies, learns, and takes advantage of his opportunities he will be contributing by the end of the season.
Three point shooting
The Celtics were just 8-25 from three point land tonight. Even though they didn’t shoot great from three overall, they still hit some big threes at key points in the game. Including three consecutive threes late in the 2nd quarter that lead to the Celtics going into the locker room with the lead. Yet, you take away those three threes, and the Celtics shot 22. 7% from downtown.
The Celtics are still without two of their best players
Getty Image: Ron Hoskins
This was a really solid game for Celtics tonight, so I’m struggling to pick out the bad stuff. The Celtics won a close game on the road in a back-to-back situation. Isaiah Thomas struggled to get going and they still put up points. The offense wasn’t perfect, but it ran smoothly, and generated quality shots more time than not.
So, for my down I’m going with how long Crowder and Horford have been out for. I’m sure the team is taking every precaution this early in the year, so if it takes an extra week it takes an extra week. But, it hasn’t been easy. It is looking like Horford is likely to return to action Monday against the Pelicans. Then Crowder’s return is looking like a little less than a week away. It will be nice getting the team back to full strength, and having Coach Stevens be able to go back to everything the team worked so hard on in preparation for the season.