The Boston Celtics started the year off hot jumping out ahead of the NBA with a 5-0 record. Heading into Monday night’s battle with the Timberwolves, Boston entered as the last undefeated team in the league and the Wolves had their eyes set on protecting homecourt; where they have yet to lose this season.
Ultimately, after four rough quarters and a hectic overtime, the Cs fell to Minnesota earning their first loss of the year. And while I’m sure the Celtics players, like Boston fans, would have loved to remain undefeated, perhaps the Celtics needed an early season loss. But why?
Boston Celtics’ loss to the Timberwolves needed to happen
Boston has looked nearly unstoppable to start the year, but the Timberwolves managed to bring the Celtics back down to earth last night with a reality check. And while 6-0 was a nice thought, the last thing the C’s needed was to get the mindset that they were unbeatable.
In a league where any team can beat you on any given night, the Celtics needed a reminder of the mindset they set from the jump, their new identity: “Just be nasty.”
Tatum made it clear to start the season that last year, one of the biggest issues was the team lacked an identity and vowed that this season would be different. Boston’s new look would come with a new identity. One that would make them the nastiest, meanest, and most disciplined group on the floor each night.
But on Monday, the Boston Celtics seemed to lose that identity for the first time this season. Losing more quarters than they won, Boston didn’t look like the team from the first five games. And they acknowledged that postgame. However, while there were plenty of negatives to take away from the loss, there were also plenty of positives as well.
The good from the bad
For starters, the Celtics played as poorly as they possibly could have between their shooting night and trouble holding onto the ball. Not to mention Kristaps Porzingis was in foul trouble for the majority of the second half. And through all of that, the C’s only lost by five points in a game they were given plenty of chances to close out.
Secondly, Boston was without Derrick White for the second straight night following the two-way guard’s absence for personal reasons. Without White, Boston has gone 1-1, but fortunately for the Celtics, as much as they’ve lacked his absence, they have done enough to fill the void the best they could. Although no guarantee having DWhite in there against Minnesota changes the result, it’s only fair to assume he could’ve left his mark on the outcome. Hopefully, the C’s will get White back for their matchup against the Sixers on Wednesday night, but to look capable against two competitive teams between the Nets and Wolves during his absence is a good sign.
Finally, the Boston Celtics were able to get a wake-up call and remember that despite their overwhelming talent, teams will be gunning for them every night. No matter how much firepower they have, each team is going to come in on a nightly basis and prove they’re just as talented, if not more. And while that’s a challenge on its own, it will be good for Boston’s group to reset and lock back in on the bigger picture to take one game at a time.
If Boston takes this one loss the right way, as they’ve already seemed to do, the Celtics can get right back on track and continue to show the world that they’re the team to beat in not only the East but the league.