The Boston Celtics were able to sneak in a rare practice, an oddity for this month, in an effort to put the sting of the Sunday loss to Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans behind them.
“Yesterday hurt,” Brad Stevens said afterwards. “The toughest part for me was that if we play an average end of third, fourth quarter, then we feel really good about ourselves, because it might have been the best game we played up to that point.”
Things can turn quickly in the NBA, and that was clear in the Smoothie King Center Sunday afternoon. Stevens is right about the first two-and-a-half quarters of basketball. Boston had played spectacular defense on Williamson and the Pels while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had taken turns with some of their best offensive basketball of the year.
Tatum was especially amazing in that second quarter, hitting four of seven shots, going to the line seven times, and dropping 15 points in 12 minutes of MVP-level basketball.