Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Celtics display strengths, weaknesses in victory over Thunder

While the Celtics 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday afternoon came right down to the wire, Boston clearly displayed many strengths, but also a few weaknesses that still may be a concern.

Here are a few takeaways from both sides of the coin when it came to the Celtics double-digit comeback win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.


  • There may not be another NBA team with Boston's versatility

The Celtics starting five appear to have it all. They can isolate, hit 3-pointers, drive into the paint, rebound the ball, defend inside and on the perimeter. If healthy, they will be a nightmare for opponents in the postseason.

  • There may not be a more-controlled player in the NBA than Gordon Hayward

Hayward came away with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the game, while hitting 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-4 on 3-pointers. He is very clever and is almost always in control, often seeming to be thinking one or two plays ahead of everybody else.

  • Celtics centers did not allow Steven Adams' physicality to take over

Adams finished with only four points on 2-of-10 from the field, while adding 11 boards. This was a test for Enes Kanter (four points, eight rebounds in 18 minutes) and Daniel Theis against one of the most-physical players in the league, and they held their own. Theis had a solid game, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and passing off for four assists. It is also noteworthy that Theis had no blocks in the game, but his intimidation under the hoop was key in Dennis Schroder missing on three drives to the basket in the second half.

  • Marcus Smart once again sealed the game

The score was 111-108 in favor of the Celtics with just over five seconds to play and the Thunder with the ball. Smart's steal was clean and vital for the win, something he's does what seems like all the time at crucial moments of a game. Smart finished with four steals in 22 minutes off the bench.


  • The bench remains a concern for the postseason

Celtics reserves Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Enes Kanter, Brad Wanamaker and Romeo Langford combined for only 16 points versus the Thunder. Oklahoma City certainly exploited Langford's inexperience, going right at him time after time. Langford needs to learn not to go for fakes, as the rookie picked up three fouls in only five minutes of action.

  • 6-foot-10 Danilo Gallinari had his way with Celtics defense

Celtics fans should be glad that Thunder marksman, Danilo Gallinari, never got traded to the Miami Heat prior to the NBA trade deadline. He gave the Celtics defense trouble all game, posting up and hitting the long-ball. He ended up with 24 points on 8-of-14 on field goals, 3-of-6 on treys and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.

  • Celtics live-or-die-by-the-3 worked this time but it won't always

Boston was 16-of-36 from beyond the arc in this one, and it worked - barely. The Celtics still rely too much on the long-ball to win games. That works if the shots are falling, but they need to take it to the rim more often.

Tom Lane

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment