The Celtics looked poised to earn their third win of the season Monday night against the Bulls, but as we’ve seen so many times before, they collapsed late in the game.
Boston dropped to 2-5 with a 128-114 loss to Chicago at TD Garden. It was an ugly showing in the fourth quarter by the Celtics, who made some big changes in the offseason that certainly should make them better than a two-win team seven games into the season.
Marcus Smart publicly called out Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum after the loss, something that certainly was warranted after Monday’s ugly offensive showing. But what made matters worse was how Brown and Tatum handled (or didn’t handle, really) postgame.
The duo did not speak with the media after the game. It was the perfect opportunity to address why they combined for just two points in the fourth quarter, or how they feel about the team and respond to Smart’s comments. But they decided to take the easy way out.
These excerpts from The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn are pretty telling how Monday night went.
Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who say they want to be top-5 players, combined for 2 points in the fourth quarter. What makes a great player elite is the ability to score despite defenses knowing exactly what he’s going to do. Tatum and Brown are not there yet.
Brown scored 28 points but went scoreless for 8:47 of the fourth. When Tatum wasn’t forcing jumpers against multiple defenders, he was complaining about non-calls and doing little else to help his teammates. Neither spoke with the media after the game and Marcus Smart pointedly said they need to learn how to become better playmakers to make things easier for themselves.
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka explained how Tatum could be a better playmaker this season, but it doesn’t appear he’s truly embraced that just yet.
At the end of the day, Brown and Tatum are leaders on the Celtics and need to address the struggles their team is facing. They need to be held accountable when necessary, and that’s exactly what Smart did.
It probably would have been uncomfortable to face the noise of the media after such an ugly loss, but Brown and Tatum only are delaying the inevitable of answering questions about what can be done to fix this mess, and how they feel about being called out by their teammate.
The Celtics will be back in action Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, so we’ll see if Boston can bounce back or if more struggles await.