RJ Barrett’s 3-pointer capped a 25-point comeback for the Knicks against the Celtics at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. This loss puts the Celtics at 18-21 for the season and the last time they were above .500 was in early December when they were 13-12.
The loss made Boston the second team this season to give up a 25-point lead, the other being their archrivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
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The Celtics are getting into the habit of losing close games this season, having lost 16 of his 23 clutch contests (score within 5 points in the last 5 minutes of the game). Otherwise they are 11-5.
“It is a lack of mental strength to fight in these adverse times”, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said after the game. “But it’s across the board, a missed shot, a defensive error here.”
“Guys get nervous when it’s not the end of the world. You still have a 12-point lead and you have to end that streak. You have to know the time and the score.”
These comments add to the notable comments from the team following some notable losses this season.
Celtics comments this season
Marcus Smart on Tatum and Brown: “They don’t want to pass the ball.”
Jaylen Brown on Al Horford’s comments: “Look and look in the mirror? No.”
Ime Udoka on the team: “They lack mental strength.” pic.twitter.com/IZwNxUo0kZ
– StatMuse (@statmuse) January 7, 2023
Much of the Knicks’ comeback came courtesy of a 21-3 streak over a nearly seven-minute stretch to the end of the third quarter and early in the quarter.
Celtics center Rob Williams, who finished with six points, nine rebounds and seven blocks, completely agree with the head coach.
“I feel like he’s absolutely right, to be honest. It worries us a lot, especially when faced with adversity. We have to find the struggle in ourselves to unite.”
This game was the fourth time Boston gave up a 19-point or greater lead and lost this season. that’s more for any team this season the next best being two games.
“I think we get nervous sometimes when you can stop him in a 6-0 run, but instead you snowball him,” Udoka added.
It is the offense that is fighting for the team. Overall, their offensive rating ranks them 22nd in the league, while their defense ranks 7th and on clutch, their offense ranks 23rd in the league.
While Boston will have a chance to exercise its demons against the Knicks at home in a couple of days, they face a more troublesome problem than their opponent: overcoming the pressure.
This adversity will surely define his season. Or, over the course of the season, they will learn to overcome these problems or they will continue to fall when under pressure and will not reach the true potential of their list.