With just a few short weeks left until the playoffs, the Boston Celtics need to get back on track. They’ve been struggling to hold leads and play the right way as of late, but their current two-game winning streak should give fans a good feeling moving forward.
They took on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, and despite a late-game run by Portland, they were able to hold on and earn a win. Damian Lillard went on a rampage in the fourth quarter, but Boston fended it off. After the game, Marcus Smart spoke about how the team kept their poise in the face of Lillard’s monster performance.
“For us, it’s just moving on to the next play,” Smart said via NBC Sports Boston. “We got to have that short-term memory on both ends of the floor. I think a lot of times, we allow, because we didn’t make shots, [opponents’ made shots] to affect our defense. And then because our defense was lacking, we try to come and force another shot. Just having that short-term memory. If you’re open, shoot the ball. If you miss it, oh well, next play. You shoot it again, you get an open shot, you knock it down. And once we start thinking like that, I think that kind of took away a lot of the mishaps that we’ve been having. Those little walls where it just seems like we couldn’t score the ball nor get to stop. And like you said, Dame went off. We still were able to keep our poise and respond.”
Lillard dropped 25 points in the fourth quarter alone and ended the game with a monster statline. He dropped 41 points, four rebounds, and five assists on 12-of-23 shooting from the field and 6-of-15 shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for Smart, he played fairly well for the Celtics. He finished the night with 15 points, two rebounds, six assists, and four steals on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 shooting from distance.
Jaylen Brown Sounds Off on Celtics
During their rough patch, the Celtics lost to the Houston Rockets – one of the worst teams in the league. After that game, Jaylen Brown sounded off on what he felt had been going wrong for the Celtics.
“Taking care of the little things,” Brown said via NBC Sports Boston. “Execution. We lost tonight, not really on execution, but lack of effort, not doing our job, the hard stuff, the little stuff is what adds up. The offensive rebounds and loose balls, turnovers. We didn’t deserve to win today.”
Marcus Smart Puts Celtics on Notice
Boston’s big win over Portland comes not long after Smart was forced to put the Celtics on notice, urging them to play with more intensity.
“Just play harder. You know, we got to play harder,” Smart said via Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston. “Teams are coming in here and out toughing us, you know, and that’s one thing we try to pride ourselves on. Especially early on in the season was, you know, being the tougher team, and right now we’re not and teams are coming in and out-toughing us. So, I feel fixing that will fix a lot of things. Having that tough mentality coming back in and, you know, throwing the first punch, and if you do get hit, hit back and get up and everything else will start kind of slowly coming back together.”