BOSTON — The Boston Celtics missed their floor general and it showed, proving especially costly Friday night against the Phoenix Suns at TD Garden.
Marcus Smart, who has missed the last five games with an ankle injury he suffered Jan. 21, created a storm that the Celtics have struggled to weather. With their 106-94 loss to the Suns marking a 2-3 record without Smart, the underwhelming showing all across the board highlighted the veteran guard’s absence greater than in any other contest.
Jaylen Brown was far from his best, shooting 9-of-21 from the field with 27 points. However, it didn’t take much to finish No. 1 in the scoring category among both teams as the Suns struggled to maintain their multiple double-digit leads late. Brown touched on Smart’s absence and mentioned how his presence likely would’ve impacted the rocky matchup.
“I think Marcus is great energy to the game,” Brown said. “He brings pace to the game, he gets easier shots, easier looks for our guys and defensively he has that tenaciousness that gets us going or picks us up in games like this.”
Brown didn’t fail to hold Boston accountable for its share in the loss. The C’s were sluggish out the gate and totaled 14 turnovers which amounted to 16 Suns points. The Celtics shot just 26.3% from beyond the arc and aside from Brown and Tatum, the rest of the offense combined to net just 4-of-16 attempts.
“I think they came out and outplayed us,” Brown said. “From start to finish for the most part. We got off to a decent start but they outplayed us. No energy, they got more shots than we did. Walking the ball up the floor with every possession. We just didn’t have the enthusiasm tonight. Just kind of going through the motions.”
Brown added: “We gotta be better 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.”
The Celtics return to action Monday against the Detroit Pistons on the road.