Image C/O: Bobby Gassage/NBAE
The Celtics are headed home after a tough road trip on the west coast these past couple of days, playing five games in just eight days with extremely inconsistent lineups.
Starting their trip with the Warriors, the Celtics ended up prevailing in a close 111-107 win with SF Jayson Tatum leading the C’s in the scoring category with 27pts on 9/19 shooting. PG Steph Curry led the Warriors with 38pts as Celtics All-Defensive First Team guard Marcus Smart was sidelined with a left calf injury.
On a back-to-back, they travel to Sacramento to play the Kings. All-Star PG Kemba Walker was sidelined in order to further preserve his knee treatments leaving PG Jeff Teague to start with the team. A well fought battle ended in defeat with the final score of 116-111. Celtics stars Tatum and Brown combine for 48pts but could not overcome great nights from both De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes.
Arguably the biggest game on this road trip was against the Clippers who are currently 3rd in the Western Conference with the abundance of star power and depth they have. SG/SF Paul George was resting for the Clippers as the Celtics’ starting PG Kemba Walker was active. The Celtics had to rest SG Jaylen Brown with left knee soreness leaving the C’s to run quite the big lineup. Through dominating performances between Tatum and Walker, the Celtics walk away with a 119-115 win over the Clippers in a down-to-the-wire battle.
From there, the C’s travel to Phoenix to play the Suns who are showing serious potential with the recent veteran addition of PG Chris Paul. With SG Jaylen Brown being rested again, 2nd year PG Carson Edwards joined the starting lineup for Boston. In their lowest scoring game of the road trip, the Celtics fall to the Suns with the final score of 100-91. Four of the five starters for Phoenix ended with double digit points with SF Mikal Bridges leading the team with 19pts.
In their final game of the road trip, the Celtics traveled to Utah to take on the 1st seed in the west. The Jazz, winning 16 of their last 17 games, have been on a roll and did not stop against the Celtics. The C’s kept it a back and forth battle in the first half but ended up deteriorating when it mattered most. After closing the game to a 4pt deficit in the final minutes, the Jazz regained composure and finished out strong. The Celtics fell to Utah with a final score of 122-108. In SG Jaylen Brown’s return, he led the Celtics with 33pts on 12/20 shooting, but Utah’s Donovan Mitchell’s 36pts game was too much to handle for Boston.
The Celtics are headed home for five of their next six games against teams that they should favorited against, but with their recent struggles and injury management it could be a bumpier road than anticipated. SG Marcus Smart should be out for another week or two leaving them at a defensive disadvantage, and with two sets of back-to-back games we can expect PG Kemba Walker to get some rest as well. The Celtics are currently 4th in the East with a record of 12-11 and are still finding their way with a forever changing rotation this season.
The Celtics return to the court on Thursday at 7:30PM against the Raptors who are currently 8th in the East.