Boston (16-10): 113– New Orleans (14-15): 100
Marcus Morris: 31 PTS 4 REB 4 AST
Jaylen Brown: 19 PTS 7 REB 3 AST 1 BLK
Jayson Tatum: 21 PTS 6 REB 1 AST 1 BLK
Anthony Davis: 41 PTS 7 REB 2 AST 4 STL
Zach LaVine: 20 PTS 11 REB 4 AST
Tim Frazier: 8 PTS 1 REB 10 AST 1 STL
With Irving, Horford, Hayward, Baynes, and Yabusele all sidelined, the Hospital Celtics were back and they were better than ever. Riding a 5 game winning streak, they came into the Garden Monday night with every possible excuse to not come away with a win. Depleted roster, Anthony Davis, whatever it was, they could’ve made excuses but they didn’t. They scrapped and clawed all the way to the final buzzer and put together a really nice effort. While a lot of NBA teams look out of sorts without their top players, the Celtics didn’t skip a beat. They played with heart up and down the roster and got a big win to roll onto their 6th straight victory.
The offense was led by a combined 52 points on 20-31 shooting from the floor courtesy of Morris and Tatum. They both were locked in all night, Tatum had his mid-range going and it seemed like Mook couldn’t miss from downtown. The line on Mook scoring 30 had to have been at like -500 because you know when there are this many guys missing, Mook’s eyes start to light up. He’s instant offense and continues to keep up his torrid pace on that end of the floor (14.4 ppg on 49/43/87 shooting). With so many key contributors being on the sidelines, these two really held it down in that starting 5.
While those two were great, the real talk of the land is based around the mysterious Timelord. Robert Williams logged a career high 26 minutes (to put it in perspective he’s played 33 mins all season) and was tasked with the assignment of Anthony Davis. He finished with 7 points 11 boards and 3 blocks and looked solid for a guy who’s rode a lot of pine this year. The rookie didn’t back down and his legend grew as he stuffed The Brow twice.
It was surreal as anytime they could, the Garden crowd went bananas for Williams. The man would literally grab a rebound and the general public would fall out of their seats in hysterics. It was wild. While it indeed was a bit over the top, he deserved a lot of the praise he was getting. When guarded by Williams, Anthony Davis went a combined 7-17 from the field. His length was clearly giving AD troubles and even on plays where he didn’t block his shot, he was SO close every time. With Baynes day-to-day with that ankle injury, Williams could carve out some minutes for himself and actually contribute. His development is going to be interesting as he has all of the athletic tools in the world, he just needs to put it all together. Right now he runs like a deer and just kind of jumps around aimlessly in the paint. Once he figures out when to jump and when not to jump on defense, he’s going to be a real pain in the ass for the opposition. When he does jump at the right shots, his timing is pretty solid for such a raw talent. I still have absolutely no idea what his ceiling is but I’m excited to watch him develop and last night was an important step in that development.
With so many guys out it was interesting that Brad elected to bring Jaylen Brown off of the bench once again. He started out cold going 2-10 in the first half but made up for it as in the second half he went 4-6, 3-3 from downtown, and scored 11 points. There was a stretch of time in the late third/fourth where Jaylen looked like the best player on the court. The fact that he came off of the bench last night tells me something. It tells me that Brad really might go with Jaylen off of the bench for the long-run. While I do believe Hayward will be apart of the bench unit for the long run as well, he’s tougher to gauge right now. When this team struggled early I always preached how it might be to Jaylen’s benefit to come off of the bench. As of now, it’s working as he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career. Check out his stats off the bench, they speak for themselves.
Marcus Smart continues to give defenders fits as players defended by Smart went 2-7 with 2 turnovers. Every single game I check out his matchup stats to see if they’re worthy of being put in the recap and every game I check them out and am like “SOLD”. During this 6 game winning streak he’s held a 129.7 offensive rating (second behind Kyrie during this stretch) and a solid 101.1 defensive rating, all equating to a net rating of 28.5. The green are undefeated in games he’s started and I don’t see him hitting the bench any time soon.
They’ve been averaging 124 points per game during this winning streak and even while they were undermanned they hung a multitude of points on the board. Look at their ratings compared to the rest of the league these past 6 games and how big the gap is between them and the second best team.
If they continue to score at will like this, I see this winning streak stretching for quite some time and their spot in the standings to look a whole lot better in the coming weeks.
Player of the Game: Marcus Morris Sr.
As stated earlier on in the recap, Morris was money all night long. His confidence is on another level and it has gotten to the point where I aggressively bark at the TV when he has the ball. I want him to shoot it EVERY SINGLE TIME he has the ball and he has obliged. It doesn’t hurt that when he hits a shot the PA announcer S/O Eddie Palladino says Marcus Morris SENIOR nowadays. I noticed that it had started a couple of weeks back and I am so down for it. There was even a stretch to start the third where he hit 3 straight triples to stretch the Celtics lead out to 68-55. He’s never been bashful as he consistently hurls up a ton of shots night in and night out. What he hasn’t done is hit those shots at an efficient clip in his career. With career shooting splits of 43/36/74 the fact that he’s shooting 49/43/87 is an incredible feat for someone about to enter their 30s. He’s shown exponential improvement as a player with the Celtics in his season and a quarter here so far. Once considered as merely a salary match in the Avery Bradley deal, Mook has eclipsed expectations and is one of the most important players on this roster.
The Celtics head into Washington for a tilt against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday 12/12 at 7:00 pm ET.
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