The Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 143-110 on Thursday with great shooting. Unfortunately, the C's strong shooting turned cold Saturday night against the Clippers. In a 115-96 loss at TD Garden, the C's shot 36 percent (36-of-100) from the field and 25 percent (10-of-40) from 3-point range.
The only Celtics starter to score in double digits was Jayson Tatum (21 points). Derrick White and Al Horford shot 0-of-13. Jaylen Brown had eight points on 3-of-13 shooting. The Celtics starters scored 38 points, significantly below their season average of 92.8 (No. 1 in the NBA).
This season, the Celtics have avoided allowing subpar offense hurt their defense. Not against the Clippers.
"I thought tonight was one of our first games where our poor offense affected our defense," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told Abby Chin after the game. We gave up 20 points in transition in the first half due to live-ball giveaways, not grabbing 50-50 balls, missed shots, crashing at the wrong angle, and not finishing at the basket.
"Inefficient attack wears down defense over time. After then, our resistance weakened. However, the Clippers played well-balanced." Tatum agreed with what went wrong for the Celtics.
"Unfortunately, we let our offense affect our defense, and they got a lot of leak-outs and easy baskets in transition," he told reporters after the game.
"I thought they did a good job of messing up the timing of every one of our passes with their active hands," Mazzulla remarked after the game. "We missed a player open by a half-second due to their energy and active hands, which threw with our offense's timing and flow, especially in the paint. We missed shots, and they played well."
Remember not to overreact to one game. A month ago, the Celtics defeated the Clippers by 37 points in Los Angeles. Even with open looks, the C's will have some bad shooting games in an 82-game season. You can't let weak offense hurt the defense, regardless of shots. The defense must be consistent, especially against strong teams like the Clippers.
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