What Dennis Schroder saw on Monday is what he wants to see from Jayson Tatum all the time. And after watching his teammate run New Orleans in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 104-92 win on Monday, Schroder is more confident than ever.
“He’s great when he attacks the basket,” said the Celtics point guard, who started in place of quarantined Marcus Smart. “Of course, he’s also a tough shot guy, but when he attacks the basket like he did today, he’s really, really hard to guard. Opens up for everyone. JT and JB (Jaylen Brown) need to do that a little more.
Again, the Celtics first had to overcome a poor first half. In the absence of Robert Williams (personal reasons) with the famous glass breaker Jonas Valanciunas on the floor, the Celtics were initially reluctant to attack the center of the Pelicans.
But when it comes to their main problem – frequent bouts of offensive passivity – nothing like a crushing fourth quarter to produce the team’s fifth win in six games.
Tatum scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth — 11 of those in a breakthrough 22-7 run. Schroder scored 11 of his 23 on the same streak. Brown (23) was the third Celtic to break the 20-plus barrier.
And although Tatum thought the Celtics had some good shots in the first half, he understood the urgency to step up the offense in the second half.
“I think we had some good results in the first half, but obviously we didn’t hit any shots,” he said. “We reduced the lead at half time and we just talked about it: get out more in transition, make a few saves and attack downhill. This is the state of mind that I took when entering the second half.
“(We were) watching a movie at halftime, seeing the best we could do, getting some good shots on some great shots, getting in, getting in the lane. Usually when you do this, something good will happen.
And after settling for 3-pointers and other assorted jumpers outside of the paint, and having a great halftime with their coach to talk ‘downhill’, the Celtics outplayed the active young Pelicans on the section.
“Sometimes it’s the game plan against specific defenses,” Ime Udoka said of his side’s frequent habit of starting games from the perimeter – in Monday’s case, resulting in a 5-point performance. for 21 (23.8%) in the first half from downtown. , in addition to 10 turnovers on the same stretch.
Tatum missed his first four shots — including three 3-point attempts — before starting to score in the second quarter. But the more the Celtics attacked, the more the ball fell. Udoka said while he wants his team to be more aggressive on offense, matchups sometimes dictate the Celtics start from downtown.
“It’s to draw in that crowd and get open eyes. So sometimes at the start of the game you just settle for the contested ones, and you’d like to attack more there, but the guys are also confident and the guys that usually get into those three are top shooters – Jaylen and Jayson in particular,” the Celtics coach said. “But sometimes we don’t want to bail out a team that’s not the best defensive team. We don’t want to let them off the hook, and that was the message after the first quarter, and really halftime, was to keep attacking, be aggressive there and then you’ll get the wide-opening expulsions. You just have to keep harping and show them the hits we can get and not just settle for once in a while. They’re very confident in their pull-ups and their three-balls, but we want to take advantage of what teams aren’t doing well.
Namely, New Orleans started the day ranked 30th in the defensive rankings — a stat that really showed as the game went on. The Celtics closed out their last two wins, including Saturday night’s narrow win over Chicago, with strong and effective fourth quarters.
“We’ve been playing pretty well lately,” Tatum said. “Hopefully soon we can get everyone back and continue to build from this. There are 37 games left. That’s enough time to catch up.