Throughout Friday’s stunning loss to the Orlando Magic at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics routinely hoisted up 3-pointers and watched them clang off the rim.
Boston had its second-worst shooting night from beyond the arc this season against the Magic, hitting just 23.9% (11-for-46) of their attempts from deep. The only showing that was worse came in a recent defeat earlier this week to the Los Angeles Clippers.
And while the shooting struggles contributed to the Magic securing just their second road win of the season, Malcolm Brogdon saw the Celtics’ lack of effort as a bigger problem.
“They played harder,” Brogdon told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “They made shots. We did not make shots that we usually make tonight. But overall, I thought they gave more effort and I think that’s the issue. It’s not the non-shot making, it’s the effort. We’ll pick it up on Sunday, for sure.”
The effort between the two sides was most glaring in the rebounding department. Orlando dominated on the glass to grab a commanding 53-38 rebounding advantage by the game’s end.
Not even the return of Robert Williams or Al Horford for that matter — before he was ejected in the third quarter to the dismay of Jayson Tatum — fully energized the Celtics. They certainly played flat and didn’t hold a lead once over the final three quarters. It could have been the effect of coming off a long six-game road trip, but Brogdon, who tallied 15 points off the bench in 30 minutes, wasn’t buying that one bit.
“There are no excuses,” Brogdon said. “We’re a veteran team, we’re trying to win a championship here, so there are no excuses. They outplayed us tonight.”
The Celtics have a chance to make amends for their poor performance on Sunday when they host the Magic again. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.