The Boston Celtics came out fighting in Game 1 on Saturday night, but ultimately collapsed down the stretch. The Cs took a 53-47 lead into the half, only to watch the Brooklyn Nets completely extinguish that lead — which at one point capped out at 12 points. The Celtics mustered up just 40 points in the second half on 32.5% shooting. As for the Nets, they blew the game open, going on an 18-4 run out of halftime en route to a 104-93 victory.
Celtics defensive stalwart Marcus Smart knows that extended lapses against an offensive juggernaut such as Brooklyn will not bode well for Boston’s hopes of advancing past the first round. Following the loss, Smart made it a point to send a strong message to his teammates as the Cs look ahead to evening the series at a game apiece on Tuesday.
“It’s the playoffs man, you know? If you’re not going to bring it you might as well stay at home,” Smart said, via NBC Sports Boston. “All you can do is control what you can control. You go out there, the coaching staff put up a scheme, you go out there and try to run it to the best you can. And we did pretty good. Obviously we had a couple of break downs. We’ll fix it, see what we have to do and come out and try to execute again.”
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Smart: ‘We Plan on Fighting Back’
Smart did come away from the loss with some positives his team could hang their hats on. The seven-year veteran noted that he “loved” the aggressiveness Boston showed vs. Brooklyn. With that said, the Celtics’ miscues — and misfirings (36.9% field-goal percentage as a team) — were simply too much for them to overcome.
“We’ve just got to continue to move the ball we were in the first half that got us that lead,” said Smart. “We gotta just continue to play. We’ve got to be strategic and optimistic on the fast breaks and transition. And you’ve just got to continue to make them work on both ends of the floor. They’re going to go down and makes some tough shots on the offensive end, you’ve got to make it even tougher for them on the defensive end.”
The Celtics were outscored by 17 points in the second half and will need to prove far more efficient on the offensive end if they hope to keep pace with Brooklyn as the series goes on. The good news, Smart and his Celtics don’t appear primed to back down from the tall task ahead of them.
“When you get hit in the mouth, you fight back,” Smart said. “So we plan on fighting back.”
Brad Stevens Talks Celtics Miscues
Following the loss, head coach Brad Stevens was extremely vocal with his praise of the Celtics’ defensive efforts against the league’s No. 1 rated offense. Yet like Smart, he pointed to his team’s need to be more aggressive offensively.
“Our competitiveness was right, our focus defensively was right for the most part,” said Stevens. “We had some miscues, but not a ton and we just got to attack their switching better. They got a lot of long athletic guys out there and prideful individual defenders and they know how to play, so we’ve got to be better at manipulating actions to get what we want.”
The Celtics will look to even the series on Tuesday, as Game 2 is set to tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center.