The Celtics' Losing Streak Reaches A Season-High Four Games, Kyrie Eager For Regular Season 'BS' To End
Nothing came easy again for the Celtics on Wednesday night, as they fell at home 97-92 to the Portland Trail Blazers for their fourth straight loss since the All-Star break.
The losing streak sets a new season-high for the Celtics, as they had three different three-game stretches.
Terry Rozier was unavailable with left knee soreness, while Aron Baynes sat out his 10th straight game due to a foot contusion.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 31 points. Damian Lillard dropped a game-high 33 points for the Trail Blazers on 13-28 shooting, including 21 in the second half.
The turning point of the game came in the final minute. The Celtics were on a 7-0 run, cutting the Trail Blazers' lead from 93-81 to 93-88. Marcus Smart pulled up for an off-balance, three-point shot with his legs flailing. He missed. And just take a look at this total LACK of defense from Jaylen Brown which led to an easy layup by Lillard:
The second that Al-Farouq Aminu grabs that rebound, Brown needs to be hustling back on defense to guard CJ McCollum. But for whatever reason, Brown just stands there, allowing McCollum to be wide open for the pass from Aminu, who then easily drives before giving a routine bounce pass to Lillard for the score, and game. Brown only starts getting back on defense when it's too late. Just a complete lack of focus, and it really did cost the Celtics the game. I'm not defending Smart for his awful shot, but Brown has a job to do as well.
Following the loss, Irving shrugged it off, noting that slumping teams during stretch runs can go on to have strong playoff runs.
“It’s part of the NBA season. You never know,” Irving said, per the Boston Herald. “I’ve been part of two organizations. One where I was in Cleveland and in 2017 down the stretch we lost a lot of games in a row and ended up sweeping the whole Eastern Conference. I don’t think anybody in the Eastern Conference could really compete with us at a high level when we we’re playing the way we we’re supposed to be playing.”
Irving then doubled down:
Like I said in one of my recent articles, it's all about getting to the playoffs and that the focus shouldn't be to catch anyone in the standings. Irving was pretty clear about that following Wednesday's loss, saying, "You can’t worry about the standings now, it’s too late in the season. Obviously, the 4-5 spot, but 1-2 is pretty much locked up, 1-2-3. So just play — as long as we get there."
The Celtics' (37-25) next game is tonight at 8 pm ET as they host the Washington Wizards (25-36). Perfect chance to finally snag a W. Let's go!