Celtics-Rockets takeaway: Jaylen C can’t take bad loss to Houston originally appeared nbc sports boston
The Boston Celtics lost against the worst team in the NBA on Monday night.
They traveled to Houston for the second leg of their six-game road trip and were humbled by the lowly Rockets. Houston, which improved to 16–52 on the season, led by 13 points and was in control for most of the night. The Celtics reduced the deficit to one point at the end of the fourth quarter, but could not complete the comeback as they fell 111–109.
Jaylen Brown (43 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (20 points off the bench) did his part to keep Boston in the game. Jayson Tatum dropped 22 points, but had an off shooting night (2-10 3PT) and missed the game-tying layup as time expired.
Five Rockets players scored in double digits, including Jalen Green (28 points) and Jabari Smith Jr. (24 points).
The Celtics are now 47-22 on the season and will be looking to return to action on Wednesday night in Minnesota. First off, here are our takeaways from Monday’s ugly loss to the Rockets.
Rebounding woes continue
The Celtics have been inconsistent on the boards in recent times. They escaped it in Saturday’s win over Atlanta, but suffered the brunt of it in Monday’s loss.
Houston outshot Boston 48–38, including going 15–10 on the offensive glass, making 17 second-chance points. The Celtics’ offensive comeback was a glaring issue with the game in the balance during the fourth quarter and ultimately led to their demise.
Poor performance on the boards shows how important the big man is robert williams C is for success. Without him, there hasn’t been enough production out in the frontcourt. Al Horford. Williams said he would increase your workout on Tuesday, but there is still no timetable for his return to court.
tough night for tatum
It was a night to forget for Jayson Tatum. The Celtics star couldn’t hold his own offensively as he started just 1-for-9 from the field (1-7 3PT). He finished the first half with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, and it didn’t get much better from there.
Tatum hit some big shots down the stretch, including his 13-point third quarter, but he was mostly in check as he finished with 22 points on 8-of-22 shooting (3-10 3PT). The 25-year-old turned the ball over four times with his most important turnover coming with 23 seconds left in regulation.
After the loss, he accepted responsibility for the Celtics’ lack of energy.
“I take the blame for it,” Tatum said. “I don’t necessarily get off to the best start and I think that’s kind of spread across the team. And so I need to start the game better with the energy level.”
It was a fitting end to Tatum’s night as he missed a layup that would have sent the game into overtime. They will look to turn the page when the Celtics visit the Timberwolves on Wednesday.
What effect did this have on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings, damaging the Rockets’ stinging last place. With only 13 games remaining in the regular season, the No. 1 seed was out of reach.
The first-ranked Milwaukee Bucks (48-19) now have a three-game advantage over Boston in the loss column. The Philadelphia 76ers (45-22) now tie C in the loss column and are necking down for the No. 2 seed.
From here the road ahead for the Celtic people becomes even more difficult. They have four games left in their current trip and while there are winnable games ahead (Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Jazz), they need to stop playing to the level of their competition. Otherwise, they would fall before even knowing the number 3 seed.