Walker on Celtics’ skid: ‘We have to play tougher’
After the Boston Celtics suffered their worst lack of the season Sunday afternoon — a 104-91 drubbing by the hands of the Washington Wizards, who entered Sunday with the worst document within the Jap Convention — star Kemba Walker had a easy prognosis for his group’s malaise.
“[We] just need to play harder,” Walker stated. “That’s it. We’re not playing hard. We’re not playing as hard as we know we can.
“Whenever you play arduous, nice issues occur. And proper now, it simply hasn’t been constant, our play. So like I stated, we’ll proceed to look at movie and be taught from our errors and get higher.”
The Celtics are now 13-13, the first time they are .500 or worse this late in the season in six years. The defeat was made worse by the fact it came on the heels of a loss to the Detroit Pistons at home Friday — who had been the worst team in the East before leapfrogging Washington by beating the Celtics.
An optimist could attempt to downplay Friday’s result due to it being the second half of a back-to-back against a rested opponent. There was no such excuse Sunday, as the Wizards improved to just 3-14 this season when Russell Westbrook is in the lineup by controlling play throughout, particularly in the second half.
While the Celtics made a late run in garbage time to make the final score look respectable, the Wizards — who entered Sunday with the NBA’s 29th-ranked defense — led by close to 20 points for most of the second half as Boston clanged one jumper after another.
Walker and Jaylen Brown each scored 25 points and shot a combined 21-for-39 from the field and 6-for-12 from 3-point range, but their teammates couldn’t buy a bucket. The rest of the Celtics were a pathetic 12-for-51 (23.6%) from the field Sunday, including 3-for-23 from 3-point range.
Boston had a span of nearly 21 minutes from the middle of the second quarter to the beginning of the fourth that included 13 consecutive misses from everyone on the team other than Walker and Brown.
“It could possibly be,” Brown said, when asked if this weekend could be considered rock bottom for the Celtics. “It is as much as the mentality of all people, how we are available in day by day and put together to work.
“If you let it be a rock-bottom mentality, then that’s what it’s gonna be. [If] you come to play, then it’ll show. And today, we weren’t very good.”
Enjoying with out Marcus Sensible, who has missed the previous two weeks with a calf pressure, the Celtics’ lack of depth — notably on the wing — and scoring punch has been uncovered.
Exterior of rookie Payton Pritchard, who has impressed and carved out a assured spot in coach Brad Stevens’ rotation, nobody on the bench has been able to offering constant scoring. Veteran Jeff Teague, who was introduced in to again up Walker, has been terrible, capturing a paltry 28.6% on 2-point photographs. He has been a wholesome scratch prior to now two video games Walker has performed.
Whereas Pritchard has shortly earned Stevens’ belief, Boston’s lottery choose, Aaron Nesmith, has not. He did play Sunday, ending with 5 factors and 5 rebounds in 29 minutes, however has been noticeably absent from the rotation this season regardless of the Celtics repeatedly being brief on wing gamers.
To that finish, Nesmith’s 29 minutes Sunday make up 20% of his time on the courtroom all season lengthy.
After the sport, Stevens pointed to rubbish time, when the top of Boston’s bench made a run to make the ultimate rating extra respectable, as one thing to construct on transferring ahead.
“There’s a lot,” Stevens stated, when requested what wants to enhance for the Celtics to get again to enjoying the way in which they’re used to. “We just have to be better at controlling the things that we can control, playing together the right way on both ends of the court.
“If our group can play extra like that final 5 minutes, then we may be pretty much as good as we may be. If not, we will probably be common … We’ve to play properly to win. It isn’t like we’re going to roll the balls out and win that sport. We’ve to play properly, so after we do not play properly, and we do not deal with the little issues, we positively haven’t any probability.”
After this weekend, the Celtics — who have now lost four of their past five, and seven of their past 10 — will be aspiring to get back to average play, but things won’t get any easier with MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets visiting Boston on Tuesday.
As Boston takes the next 48 hours to prepare for that game, Stevens — like Walker — said playing hard is going to be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to see the floor outside of the team’s mainstays.
“I feel we have got to have a look at every little thing,” Stevens said. “I do know we have talked rather a lot about lineups and consistency and who performs and who does not play. Guys that actually transfer the ball or guys that actually run the spots and actually execute arduous have most likely obtained to be the precedence, playing-wise, for now round our best gamers. And I feel that that is the place we’re gonna need to get to, as a result of that is clearly a problem.”