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The Boston Celtics expressed collective disappointment in their lack of focus following Wednesday night’s 116-107 loss to the Washington Wizards at TD Garden.
However, they were not disappointed in the way they responded at practice Friday morning/afternoon, as they regrouped at the Auerbach Center for a lengthy and lively film and practice session before heading down to D.C. for Saturday night’s rematch.
“It was great, it was high energy,” head coach Ime Udoka said after the spirited session. “We showed a ton of film, probably longest film session of the year so far, to touch on all the things we saw in the game the other night. They responded well, had a lot of dialogue in the film session. Guys talking about what they saw and how we can get better at certain things. And so, they carried that over to practice today and we're excited to get another chance at Washington tomorrow.”
Jaylen Brown, in particular, is looking forward to getting another chance against Washington following a 5-of-16 shooting performance Wednesday night.
The All-Star wing is one of several Celtics players who has dealt with health issues early on, having missed time due to a positive COVID-19 test and knee soreness. But he believes that the early adversity is no excuse for the team’s inconsistent focus throughout the first week of the regular season, and so he and his teammates are eager to improve in that area.
“It's never too early for adversity,” Brown said. “You can't time it or predict it. It just happens and you got to respond. And I am looking forward to it.
“This is a part of the journey as we all are coming together," he added. "There are a lot of expectations, et cetera, but at the end of the day, we have to come out and play basketball. It's only five games in, but there is an urgency behind that. There is an urgency to clean up. We know what Celtics basketball looks like and our losses came more from effort and energy rather than Xs and Os.”
It’s vital to have such effort and energy not only during the games. “Having good practices, good shootarounds are a part of it,” said Brown. And Friday was a great practice day.
Brown echoed what Udoka said about the liveliness of the film session, noting how he and his teammates held each other accountable for some of their recent shortcomings. They were all receptive to each other's opinions and carried those conversations into the gym where they converted their words into positive action.
“Being communicative, talking through a lot of different things so we can hold each other accountable, I think that’s, at the end of the day, what’s important,” said Brown. “We need to be able to look each other in the eye and know who made the mistake, or where we need to improve at. And I think in the first couple of games, we didn't necessarily have that dynamic. We were all kind of looking around at each other. But as we get more confident in the system, confident in our switching and details, we'll be able to know and identify exactly what needs to change, for sure. But the thing that should not change is our effort and our energy, and so we got to get better at that.”
Friday was a step in the right direction in that sense, as the Celtics produced a high-energy, pre-flight practice. Now, they just have to carry the same level of focus into D.C. so that they can pay back the Wizards Saturday night.