Josh Marion | November 25th, 2019
On a tough five-game road trip, the Celtics finished on a losing note and also lost star point guard Kemba Walker in the 5th game of the trip. Walker collided with Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye and left the game with concussion-like symptoms. When Walker may return is unclear and that doesn’t bode well for the Celts at all. 20 plus points a night and his playmaking ability are not easy to replace.
Only one of the five Celtics games were decided by 5 points or more and that was a win (99-85) in which the Phoenix Suns didn’t have their starting point guard (Ricky Rubio) or young big man (Deandre Ayton), it has been impressive how the Celtics big guys played on the trip even though they didn’t win the majority of games. Brad Stevens has been starting Daniel Theis at center instead of offseason acquisition Enes Kanter. It seems Stevens prefers Theis’s defensive-minded basketball compared to Kanter’s more offensive game. 2nd-year player Robert Williams has played a solid role off the bench blocking shots but he is still raw at the center position.
I’ve been most impressed with how Jaylen Brown has looked recently. He is aggressive and confident with his shot-making and handling ability which hasn’t always been the case throughout his career. Even in losses, Brown has been a key piece on offense and defense and we all know two-way players are valuable in the NBA.
If you aren’t aware by now, the Celtics’ best defensive player is Marcus Smart. On the trip, he was opposed by some of the great scorers in the NBA. From Devin Booker, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, to others, Smart never backed down from taking the most talented players on the court. On certain nights he can guard all five positions on the floor and it’s really special to watch.
In their next game the Celtics will be at TD Garden in Boston against the Sacramento Kings who beat the C’s on the five-game road trip 100-99. The Celtics will be most eager for revenge against the Kings and should look to shut down Buddy Hield who torched them for 35 in the Kings victory. Without Kemba in the lineup, look for Brad Wanamaker off the Celtics bench to give them a spark.
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