Celtics Notes: Jaylen Brown’s Heroics Not Enough As Physical Rockets Rally In OT


Mar 1, 2020

Jaylen Brown did his best to provide the Boston Celtics an extra lift on a game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime. But ultimately, the physicality of the Houston Rockets took over once again as the visitors escaped the TD Garden with a 111-110 overtime win Saturday.

The Celtics held a minimal advantage on the glass (54-53), but it seemed every time the Rockets needed a big offensive rebound, or a 50-50 ball, Houston got it.

Houston’s 6-foot-5 center P.J. Tucker, in one instance, saved an offensive rebound on the end line before falling out of bounds. Robert Covington connected on a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the Rockets up 99-95 with 2:37 left in regulation in another. It didn’t take long for the Rockets to again benefit from a second-chance basket as Russell Westbrook put back a thunderous tip-slam to extend the lead to 101-95 with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.

Tucker (13 rebounds) and Covington (16 rebounds) controlled the glass for the small-ball Rockets, who showcased the ability to switch everything on defense and thus make it tough for the Celtics offense. As head coach Brad Stevens noted, the Rockets “imposed their will” on Boston in the final moments of the game.

Brown said the Celtics “lost the game on the offensive glass.”

“They’re a physical team, fast team, all the above,” Brown said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “That was the game right there — box outs. They got some big box outs late and it contributed to them winning… They’re one of the best teams in the league at doing that.”

Stevens talked at length about the physical play, which he said was the reason like the Celtics came up short on Feb. 11 in Houston as well.

“The physicality was, it really affected us in both these games against Houston, like it really affected us,” Stevens said. “We have to become a little bit better holding our ground. Part of it is just the brute strength, part of it is picking your spots a little bit better, getting angles a little bit better.

“They really turned up their physicality in the second half, it was hard to get good looks,” Stevens said. “They’re hard to play against. they’re hard to play against. They’re physical, they steer you into things.”

Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Celtics-Rockets game:

— The Celtics have worked on situational plays like Brown’s game-tying 3-pointer, and it was shown by everyone involved.

Jayson Tatum intentionally missed a perfectly-placed free throw. Marcus Smart brilliantly kept the ball alive until it found Brown atop the key, and Brown hit a shot that sent TD Garden into a frenzy, tying the game.

“They did a good job in that last five seconds and found a way to send it to overtime,” Stevens said. “Jaylen made a big shot with Marcus’s big rebound, great miss by Jayson, everybody played a role in that.”

“It’s something we practice,” Tatum said. “Try to make a play. got a good bounce, (Brown) was in the right place at the right time and hit a big shot to give us a chance.”

— Tatum puts together another superstar performance in the national spotlight.

The 21-year-old swingman finished with a team-high 32 points on 9-for-27 shooting. It was Tatum’s fourth consecutive game with 30 or more points, his 46th consecutive game of scoring in double figures, while scoring 20-plus points in 17 of the last 19 games, according to Celtics Stats.

— Robert Williams did not play in his first game available since Dec. 6, 2019.

— Celtics return to the floor at TD Garden on Tuesday to face the Brooklyn Nets, with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Celtics Paul Pierce
Previous Article

Watch Paul Pierce React To Jaylen Brown’s Game-Tying 3-Pointer

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens
Next Article

Why Brad Stevens Didn’t Call Timeout Before Last Play Of Celtics-Rockets

Picked For You