For the first time since Jan. 21, the Boston Celtics have lost two games in a row. They fell to miami heat at home Wednesday night, 106-98. The loss dropped the Celtics to fourth place as they now have two full games on the first.
The evening was dominated by technical fouls, complaints to referees and hard basketball. It’s hard to expect less when the Heat come to town.
Loss to Miami as a learning opportunity
With the Celtics’ success, the loss can also be seen as a good thing, a learning opportunity for the team as they prepare for a playoff run. That’s how Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Ime Udoka framed him after the game.
“Just playing a good team,” Tatum said, “Another team that’s at the top of the East. Good, tight play. Obviously, again, we’d like to win, but that’s something we can learn from. advancing.
But even though the game was a learning opportunity, Tatum made it clear that it was still a loss. “No moral victories. We lost,” Tatum said. “Either you win or you lose. But you can always learn from something. And, you know, the season wasn’t decided today. We still have games to play. Playoffs. So we will be better.
Horford echoed Tatum’s sentiments. He explained how, while losing always hurts, it can be used to help prepare the Cs for the playoffs. Miami is the best team in the East, and playing games like this will only help them get better.
“It’s good for our team to be in this position,” Horford said after the game. “And obviously it’s a playoff team. It’s just a good time for us to keep finding ways to improve. And we still obviously want to win. But I just think it’s good… For us, the key will be to watch this game tomorrow, see how we can improve and improve, and move on.
And as Udoka prepares for his first NBA playoffs as head coach, he also found the bright spots in the loss. He sees it as a message to his team that they can’t just waltz through the playoffs like nothing happened.
“Yeah, that was a message,” the Boston head coach said. “I told the guys, ‘every game is not going to be easy. You’re not going to win every game with 20 points. But keep your cool when you miss shots or get no calls, play through that. And that’s a good test in terms of the playoffs. That’s what it’s going to be like to happen in a few weeks here.
Udoka was quick to point out areas where Boston can improve. The Celtics only managed to score 15 points in the fourth quarter as they lost their temper in the streak, giving Miami a lead.
“In terms of execution, it could have been better,” Udoka said. “That area kind of bothered us going into the fourth, so some things we can go back and look at. After finishing the third quarter with 31 points, only to score 15, although we missed quite a few easy shots. Things to clean up and watch and a good experience for us going forward knowing that every game won’t be as easy as it has been lately.
Celtics interactions with referees
As much as the loss itself was a talking point, so were the referees. For most of the night, Boston complained on one call or another. Jayson Tatum recovered a technique late in the second and Marcus Smart was ejected from the game with one blow at the end of the game. Tatum’s technology was his 13 of the season, and according to him, he is very aware of it.
“It was my 13th technician of the season,” he said. “You know, I’ve had 12, and I know if you have 16, you have to miss a game. So I’m very aware. I don’t want to have to miss a game. »
Tatum developed the technology he got, and in his eyes, he was just trying to ask a question. He also said that it is very difficult to stay relaxed with the officials at the moment with the adrenaline rush.
“Obviously it’s an emotional game sometimes,” Tatum said. “You know there’s 20,000 people in there, it’s hard to whisper and be relaxed. You know the guys are passionate, we care what’s going on. So obviously we can sometimes sound aggressive. And, you know, I’m aware of that, but this time I was honestly asking him a question. I guess I asked too many times, but you know, I have a technician. is what it is and it’s just time to move on.
Horford also commented on the matter, though not directly. The veteran was asked about Miami’s physicality, and while he said it was a good experience for the Cs, he also gave the umpires a light jab and a few calls they may have dropped.
“I think that’s a good thing,” Horford said. “You know, our guys, we probably haven’t dealt with something like this in a while. And now we’ve seen it, you know, we know what it is. And, you know, moving forward , we just can’t get caught up in that. You know, usually we’re the team that apply and do things like that and I think we’ve done that sometimes. I just think there was a lot of extra stuff, they just sort of let go. And, you know, we’ll make adjustments. I’m not worried about that.
Meanwhile, Udoka wasn’t happy to see how much his guys were complaining. He said the Celtics got too caught up in officiating and lost focus on the task at hand, especially early in the game.
“We were complaining a bit too much,” Udoka said. “Having as bad a score as we played early and not playing our best basketball, we made up for it early in the game. Early, as well as some late calls which didn’t sit well with us, we got caught up in this. »
That being said, Udoka went to the referees after the match to discuss. When asked what he said, he mentioned that he simply asked for more consistency, pointing to some calls Miami got early in the game that Boston didn’t get later.
“I’m just saying we would like consistency,” Udoka said. “I mean, some calls they made early in the game, we failed to call them, and you know, a lot of flops that they fell for. I just mentioned some of those things but like I said we have to play and we had our chances. Whether they call it or not, we have to keep driving and being aggressive and finding outlets and forcing them to make a call, basically. Our guys, like I said, didn’t play well.
The Celtics’ next game is Friday night when they face Indiana Pacers at TD Garden. Boston will be looking for revenge after the Pacers beat them in the teams’ last game. Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston.