A lot of things didn’t go right for the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. But one aspect of the Celtics’ game that usually is solid was a major reason for the team’s 19-point loss to the Orlando Magic.
The Magic out-rebounded the Celtics 54-34 and made their presence felt most on the offensive glass, where they pulled down 17 offensive rebounds to Boston’s nine. Orlando made the most of those extra opportunities, too, tallying a total of 26 points on the night to establish a comfortable lead.
The Celtics don’t have the tallest frontcourt — Jared Sullinger, David Lee and Amir Johnson, who saw the most minutes for Boston on Sunday, all are listed at 6-foot-9 — meaning they have to rely on good positioning to corral rebounds. But that wasn’t the case against the likes of Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, who each tallied double-digits (11 and 10, respectively) in the rebounding category.
“We have to (have good positioning),” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game in an interview aired on CSN New England. “If we don’t do that, we’re not going to win. You guys were there. You look out there, they’re jumping a little higher than us. So, we need to make sure that we do a better job of getting our bodies on people and finishing plays. When we’ve rebounded, we’ve been pretty good.”
Indeed, the Celtics are 7-2 this season when they tally 45 rebounds or more. When they can’t control the glass, however it shows: Boston is 0-5 in games in which it doesn’t top 40 rebounds.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Celtics-Magic:
— Jared Sullinger struggled mightily on the offensive end.
One game after going off for 18 points and 15 rebounds, the Celtics big man scored a season-low three points on 1-of-7 shooting. Stevens credited Sullinger’s offensive woes to a strong defensive effort from Orlando’s frontcourt.
“I thought they did an awfully good job on him,” Stevens said. “They made it really tough. They were challenging everything, they were really physical, they knocked us off our cuts — not just Jared but everybody. When you play that way, shots are harder to make.”
On the bright side, Sullinger held his own on the defensive end, pulling down 11 rebounds and racking up three steals and three blocks, all of which came in the first half.
— The Celtics have had some issues with consistency this season, following up excellent performances like Friday night’s win with clunkers like Sunday’s loss. Avery Bradley addressed those issues head-on after the game.
“I don’t feel like we came out with a sense of urgency or playing hard at all from the beginning of the game,” the guard told reporters in an interview aired on CSN New England. “… After (Friday’s) game, one thing that I kept saying is, ‘We need to continue to take steps forward.’ And (Sunday night), we definitely took steps back.”
— James Young apparently was dealing with a minor left shoulder issue Friday night, keeping him from earning minutes at the end of Boston’s blowout win over the Washington Wizards. The reason for that shoulder issue is a bit strange, however.
“I just slept on it wrong,” Young said Sunday, via MassLive.com. “And it’s been a little sore since then.”
Young was active Sunday, though, seeing two minutes of playing time at the end of the game.
— Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had a strong reaction when told about Kobe Bryant’s announcement that he’ll retire at the end of this season.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@NBA