After a dominant performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Boston Celtics took their foot off the gas in an embarrassing loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The Cs led by a poor performance from Jayson Tatum, fell 106-94 on Friday night, snapping a two-game win streak. The Celtics have now lost four of their last six games, and they are in desperate need of Marcus Smart. Despite this poor stretch, Boston remains in first place in the Eastern Conference, but they hold a slim 1.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jaylen Brown got off to a strong start for the Boston Celtics as he had 12 points in the opening quarter. The strong start followed a tweet from Brown with the message “energy shifting.” Brown was the only Celtics player that received the message as everyone else lacked focus.
The Celtics’ offense was terrible in the first half, and they suffered shooting regression from the game on Wednesday. It led Cs fans to question whether the deadly cold temperatures from outside crept into the arena. Despite a 7-0 start to the game, the Celtics trailed by 13 points at halftime.
The third quarter saw a shift from the Boston Celtics as they outscored the Suns 29-17 in the quarter. Brown continued his strong play as he finished with 27 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. However, the rest of the Cs did not follow, and the Suns took full advantage. With an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter, the Suns pulled away from the Celtics to secure the victory. Boston is now 0-9 in games where they trail by eight or more points at halftime, and it is their first double-digit loss at home since November of 2021.
Jayson Tatum had a focus problem for Boston Celtics against Suns
Tatum did not come to play for the Celtics tonight, and it has been a problem this season. Tatum fails to get up for games when he feels the opponent is inferior, which hurts the Celtics as seen in this game. He ultimately looked disinterested as he had a pedestrian 20 points on 3/15 shooting from the field and 3/10 from the 3-point line.
Tatum needs to figure out his focus problem for the Celtics to secure the number one seed and to keep his name in the MVP race — with the danger of losing credibility in the MVP race looming if he continues to have poor showings against lesser opponents. The Celtics need him to play great regardless of the quality of the opponent.
The Boston Celtics need Marcus Smart back
The Celtics’ offense has been horrible in this poor six-game stretch, and it has been without Marcus Smart. In this stretch, the Celtics have been held under 100 points three times, which is absurd considering how great their offense has been. Although Smart’s value has been criticized at times, he is a vital piece to the Celtics and their success.
The Boston Celtics need Smart to come back before the All-Star break to help stop the bleeding.