MINNESOTA — The Boston Celtics (48-22) got their first win on the second game of their road stretch after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35) Wednesday 104-102.
After losing their top spot to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics have had some analysts raising their eyebrows. The struggles for the C’s has been real. And for them to get a win over a mediocre western conference team was probably more satisfying than it should be.
Nonetheless, here are some takeaways from the game.
Marcus Smart is the heart and soul
After getting ejected from the Atlanta Hawks game in the fourth quarter due to a scuffle with Tre Young, Smart was out the very next game. The C’s lost that game, but Smart was suited up for the T’Wolves. Smart may have only had 9 points in the 35 minutes he was on the floor, but he was +5 when on the court.
When opposing teams go on runs, it’s Smart who can stop the ball as the floor general and get into an actual offensive plays. The C’s got into too much deep shooting against the Rockets which is why they lost that game. But with Smart, he’s not afraid to say what’s on his chest whether it’s in the press conference or on the bench.
Robert Williams is missed
Once again, the Celtics lose the rebounding and points in the paint battle by a narrow margin. Luckily for the C’s, Jaylen Brown’s 35 points was able to hold of the T’Wolves. But it’s clear that the Celtics inside presence is not existent without their big man in Time Lord.
I may sound like a broken record but it’s true: The C’s need Robert Williams back. He was the guy who made players think twice before attacking the cup. Anthony Edwards had 28 points and 10 rebounds and looked comfortable out there. There isn’t the same toughness the C’s had last year. Blake Griffin and Grant Williams are doing their best, but it’s not enough against top guys. They couldn’t even contain Rudy Gobert honestly.
Ball movement is key for C’s offense
This may hold true for 90% of offenses in the game basketball, but the C’s are lethal when they move the ball efficiently. Boston has the likes of Jayson Tatum who’s averaging 30 a night, Brown, Sixth Man of the Year candidate Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White. If everyone touches the ball at leasts once every possession the odds of a made basket grows higher.
When the ball is stagnant is where the Celtics kill themselves. It allows defenses to set up and get in their spot to be ready for drives and passes. Moving teams off balance by swinging the ball is the most effective for this C’s team. They have way too much offensive talent to just keep the ball in one or two players hands each trip down the court.