Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Bad loss for Boston: Offense stumbles again and Celtics fall to Magic. I get it, we’re just four games into the NBA season and the Celtics are still adjusting to having Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back in the rotation. This early the defense isn’t expected to be at its switching peak yet. Everything is a work in progress and it’s far too early to even get nervous.
But the Celtics were manhandled down the stretch by the Raptors. Then Boston almost lost to an unimpressive Knicks team.
Now comes a home loss to Orlando. That is a bad loss. Boston is simply not playing well right now.
Following an unimpressive preseason, the Celtics are 2-2 to open the season after a 93-90 loss to the punchless Magic Monday. While Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin were able to get in the paint and kick out, and Nikola Vucevic had 24 and 12, it wasn’t the Magic offense torching the Celtics defense that was the biggest problem on the night. Once again, Boston’s offense looked out of sync, as evidenced by them shooting 7-of-20 in the first quarter or going 9-of-40 from three (22.5 percent). When the long Magic defenders stopped the Celtics’ initial actions, Boston players were not making passes that started good actions elsewhere, they just looked stagnant.
Meanwhile, the Magic had their young star, Jonathan Isaac, making plays.
The Celtics’ offensive chemistry is a work in progress — they will get there, this team will be elite, but it’s going to take a lot longer than expected. Everybody thought this would be more plug-and-play, that everything would come together quickly for the Celtics with their stars back. Things seemed to come more easily last season, it’s not that way this time around. This time, Brad Stevens and crew have a lot more work to do.
It’s just four games, the Celtics have the talent and plenty of time to get it all together. But this is not the start their fans envisioned.
2) Laker defense gets them in trouble, Spurs’ Patty Mills puts the nail in the coffin. Lakers remain winless. If you want highlights, this game had plenty. There was clutch LeBron forcing overtime.
Then, capping off a dramatic comeback where the Spurs scored the final seven points of the game in the final :55 seconds, Spurs veteran Patty Mills drained his game-winning attempt.
However, he did it so fast LeBron had one more shot to win it all, he got to his spot and…
The Spurs win, 143-142 in overtime.
Get past the highlights, and LeBron’s Lakers remain winless because of the same things that have plagued them through the first two games. The Lakers do not defend well at all (the Spurs scored 125.7 points per 100 possessions, and the Lakers are bottom six in the league in defense through three games). While the Lakers’ offense is great in transition, slow them down and they are very inconsistent (and searching for consistent shooting from three). Bottom line, if the Lakers get stops and can run they are impressive, but they don’t get enough of those, and then things are a roller coaster.
It’s just three games, but for a Laker team expecting to make the playoffs in a deep West, they need to start winning sooner rather than later.
3) Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris secure Wizards win a wild overtime game in Portland. Two of the best backcourts in the NBA — Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum for Portland, John Wall and Bradley Beal for Washington — faced off on Monday night, and the star was…
Yes. Markieff Morris. He had 28 points and nine rebounds, including making key plays in a 125-124 overtime win for the Wizards. Damian Lillard was hitting clutch shots too, but with everything on the lin late Otto Porter rejected Lillard near the rim.
Rather than reading a description, just watch the highlights of the end of regulation and overtime, and enjoy.