“Yeah, we stunk,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “But they were really good. They had a lot to do with that.”
Boston allowed Cleveland to go 45/84 (53.6%) from the field and 16/30 (53.3%) from the three-point line. Despite drastically shaking up their roster at the trade deadline, new Cavaliers George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood combined for 44 points. LeBron led all scorers with a 24-point, 10-assist double-double.
“I know the guys that are here are very excited about this opportunity,” James said. “It’s my job as the leader of this team to make sure that I acclimate the new four guys to be around a culture that’s built around winning.”
About a month ago, Boston was celebrating a 102-88 blowout of their own against the Cavaliers. LeBron’s team was significantly older and less talented. Locker room issues were making all the headlines for Cleveland and Boston was the No. 1 seed in the East.
This new Cavs roster is better equipped to defend, run, and compete with Boston in the playoffs. Boston, however, is half a game behind the Toronto Raptors for first in the East.
Since Jan. 1, Boston is 28th in league in offensive rating, 29th in field goal percentage, 23rd in made field goals, and 17th in three-point percentage. For much of the season, Boston was able to depend on it’s defense. With Marcus Smart out indefinitely, Boston has to come up with answers.
“Not going to expect to see him on Wednesday night,” Stevens said. “Hopeful that he will be back and ready to go after the All-Star break. But we’ll see.”
At 40-18, Boston has played the most number of games out of every team in the league. Fatigue may be a factor in the Celtics losing three of their last four and giving up an average of 108 points in those games.
“I’d say the constant has been we’ve gotten outplayed pretty thoroughly in segments of those games,” Stevens said. “Teams have been aggressive against us. They’ve been very physical against us and have played really well, and we haven’t played well.”
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Boston Celtics article is published, fill out our email notification form.