July 19, 2024

BLACKLIST: Charles Barkley brutally send miserable warning to Celtic team after recent loss…

The Celtics’ Thursday loss to the LeBron James and Anthony Davis-less Lakers was perhaps their worst of the year. The C’s were disorganized from the start and never really found their groove in the TD Garden loss to the Lakers, 114-105.

Considering neither James nor Davis played, the pundits had some harsh words reacting to the C’s loss. TNT analyst Charles Barkley ripped the Celtics following the loss.

“I’m really concerned about the Celtics’ mental toughness,” Barkley said. “You win games on talent. But you have to win games in the playoffs on toughness. You have to be mentally strong. You have to take care of the ball. This team here, to me, they’ve got great talent but they’re mentally weak.”

Now, the Celtics were more even-keeled following the disappointing loss. C’s coach Joe Mazzulla said it was an unacceptable effort, but added he wasn’t necessarily concerned about the Celtics going forward. It’s also true that the Lakers shot a lights-out 52.8% on 3-pointers, including some tough looks.

It’s also partly human nature to relax after James and Davis were ruled out hours before Thursday’s game. The Lakers have struggled all season, so missing their two superstars figured to be an easier game for the league’s best home team in the C’s. But the Lakers played inspired ball as they led the entire second half Thursday.

So the Celtics will look to regroup going forward. The criticisms will still be there, but it’s also just one data point out of 82 games. The Celtics still have the best record in the league at 37-12, including a 4.5-game lead on the second-place Bucks. It was still a tough blow to their historic rivals Thursday. But it doesn’t have to mean the Celtics’ championship hopes are suddenly gone just because of one game.

“It happens,” Mazzulla said. “Stretches of bad basketball happen. You work your butt off every day to minimize those. But stretches of bad basketball happen, and we can’t sit here and act like we’re too entitled for it to happen to us. It happens. It’s a matter of how we respond to it, and can we work through it. It’s constant daily choices, daily habits that you have to commit to every single day. To think we’re not going to go through difficult times during an 82 game NBA season is not the right way to look at it.”

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