Although the Celtics were dominant in their victory over the Brooklyn Nets in the previous game, drubbing Kyrie Irving, who was without Ben Simmons and leading scorer Kevin Durant, 139-96, the Celtics couldn’t repeat their performance in the following game against the Suns, falling 104-96. The Celtics, who couldn’t seem to miss a shot against the Nets, were seemingly much more lifeless against the Suns, an inconsistency that both Jaylen Brown and interim coach Joe Mazzulla identified in their post-game commentary.
“I think they came down and outplayed us from start to finish for the most part,” Jaylen Brown said to reporters after the game. “We got off to a decent start, but they outplayed us. No energy, they got more shots than we did, we were walking the ball up the floor every possession. We just didn’t have an enthusiasm tonight, just kind of going through the motions as a unit.”
Interim coach Joe Mazulla added, “I’m not really disappointed. I think we can’t be inconsistent with how we execute. The fragility of hanging onto playing a quote unquote perfect game is very difficult. And so, Phoenix did a great job of managing the game with their offense and their ability to execute. And we had spurts throughout the game where we gave up runs where we didn’t manage it well, whether it was because of our offense or it was because of our second-shot defense.”
That inconsistency was exemplified in the Celtics’ shot percentages — against the Nets they were 57.6% from the field and 48.1% from three-point-land. Against the Suns, those numbers took a hit to 38.7% overall and 26.3% from downtown. Jaylen Brown noted that as the team leader, he has to do a better job being a catalyst for the offense and that the team can’t simply “[go] through the motions” despite his best efforts either.
“Every game has its own story,” said Brown. “And other times, we’ve depended on guys to come off the bench to lift us up and stuff like that. Some days it’s Malcolm, some days it’s Payton, Grant, [or] whomever. We didn’t get enough tonight. We just got to be better going forward. We got to find ways. As a leader, I gotta find ways to help get my team going. Sparks a little bit. The spark wasn’t there, and Phoenix seemed like they wanted it more than us, and that came out more, and we just came out and was going through the motions. And when that happens, everything becomes more pressure. We should be playing, flying around. But we took our foot off the gas.”
Brown said that while the Suns were without key players Devin Booker and Cam Johnson, which may have caused the team to take the game more lightly than they should have, the team has to match the other team’s energy no matter who’s in their starting lineup.
“Just mindset and mentality, you know? You got to be able to get up for games and match other teams’ energy,” Brown added. “And tonight, that just didn’t happen. We played well in stretches. We played way too slow. They shot way more shots than us. They dictated the game. I think we could’ve run a lot more, played a little bit faster, got some more shots. It didn’t happen tonight.”
Do you agree with the comments made by Jaylen Brown on the Celtics’ loss to the Suns? Let us know in the comments.