Friday, 14 December, 2018

Celtics 124, Pelicans 107 — Postgame wrap

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Jennie Wade | 29 November, 2018, 07:54

One of the many aspects of the Celtics' sluggish start to the season was their severe lack of energy to begin games. Sure, there are still roughly 60 games remaining in the season, but injuries, poor play, and a lack of chemistry have made Celtics head coach Brad Stevens fiddle with lineups on a nightly basis.

Nikola Mirotic was perhaps the only New Orleans player to have an above-average night offensively, raining in three-pointers after the Pelicans dug themselves a big early hole on the scoreboard. The rest of the Celtics' starting lineup will feature Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, and Al Horford. "Not saying that we're there, but for me there is no more time to waste". The former Kentucky Wildcat has made 17 appearances with the Pelicans this season, averaging 27.0 points on 48.6 percent shooting from the field (33.3 percent from beyond the arc), 12.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 steals in a career-high 37.5 minutes per outing.

In a league of super-teams, it's not a great sign when a player feels he has to do it all to keep his team competitive. On opening night on October 16, Boston defeated Philadelphia 105-87 behind 23 points and nine rebounds from Tatum.

Davis likely won't be traded this season because he still has another season on his contract, but the rumors are only going to get louder if New Orleans struggles.

Most importantly, the basketball fit might force Davis to move on. He was 5/6 from deep in the second period, tying a franchise record for most treys in a quarter. "We knew that we had the game in control just based upon our defensive schemes that we had out there".

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Irving is averaging 22 points and 6.4 assists per game on the young season, and has really turned up recently, leading Boston in scoring in five out of the team's last seven games.

"Get me off the ball", Jrue Holiday said half-jokingly at Tuesday's practice. We did pretty well with our unit tonight. "We have to get that swagger back".

Irving raised a some eyebrows a few weeks ago when he did not mention Smart in a laundry list of players who needed to step up as leaders.

Neither team is particularly happy with where it is right now as they prepare to meet Monday night in the Smoothie King Center.

"We've got to get our identity back". "Last year, teams used to, when they came in and played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight". So we expect him to be in the right spots and doing the right things. Smart was the only member of Boston's starting five not to hit double digits in points, but his impact was elsewhere. The Celtics host Cleveland on Friday night. 'The Celtics, at some point, if you want to get a Kawhi Leonard or in this vehicle Anthony Davis you can't just protect your five-man core.

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