Celtics Go Through Mental Letdown In Surprising Loss To Suns

It was much different that the first meeting between the teams


February 3

Celtics forward Al Horford certainly was in agreement with the assessment that Boston suffered from a mental letdown Friday night against the shorthanded Phoenix Suns at TD Garden

“Probably,” Horford told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “It’s fair. The way that we played, I think that’s fair to say.”

After bludgeoning the Brooklyn Nets two nights prior, the Celtics followed it up with an uninspiring performance despite nearly erasing a 20-point deficit in a 106-94 loss to the Suns, who were without star guard Devin Booker.

It was a much different showing than the Celtics put together out in Phoenix earlier this season when they trounced the Suns and led by as many as 45 points in that game.

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But Boston recently has had a penchant of not living up to their NBA-best record at times as well as not being able to get motivated going up against lesser opponents.

“We have to find a way,” Horford said. “You (let) a team get confidence like that and then it’s tough to slow them down. At the end of the day, they’re professionals. And to your question, yeah, we need to do a better job despite who’s on that other side. There’s a certain level that we need to play with.”

Celtics star Jaylen Brown, who netted a game-high 27 points in the loss, also couldn’t put his finger on why Boston couldn’t didn’t bring the necessary energy needed to put forth a more competitive effort.

“Not sure, but we got to be better,” Brown told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “And we know that and tonight was a poor example of that. We didn’t come out with the right energy and we got beat.”

Even with the Celtics being lethargic, they put themselves in a good position by only trailing by a single point entering the fourth quarter. But Boston could never overtake Phoenix with the Suns going on a 14-2 tear to begin the final frame.

“I just felt like for whatever reason when we got close we got a little anxious,” Horford said. “Trying to force some plays where we just needed to be solid. Just couldn’t quite take that lead. I felt like if we would’ve took the lead, things would have changed. It would have been different.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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