‘Those are killer possessions,' Stevens says of C's lack of offensive rebounding


BOSTON – A year ago, one of the biggest concerns for the Celtics was their depth at the wing position.

Fast forward to today and the Celtics once again find themselves searching for answers at a position that not that long ago, was one of the team’s biggest strengths.


But injuries and inconsistent play have put this position on a path of uncertainty.

They certainly didn’t look good in the 111-103 loss to Washington on Christmas Day.

When people think of the wing position, they often focus on scoring from that position.

But as the Celtics experienced first-hand, there are other ways wing players can be difference-makers.

On Monday, it was their rebounding that gave Boston major problems.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens rattled off a number of problematic areas for his team on Monday.

As he was nearing the end of his list, he said, “and then probably most importantly, the wing rebounding on the offensive glass.”

Washington’s primary wing players – Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mike Scott – had a total of eight offensive rebounds.

Boston’s top wing players – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris – did not grab a single rebound on the offensive glass.

Brown left in the second half with a leg injury, Semi Ojeleye (back) did not play and Morris was playing in his first game after missing the previous eight with a knee injury. The Celtics have continued to persevere and find ways to win despite playing all but the first five minutes of the season without Gordon Hayward, their All-Star wing who signed a four-year, $127.8 million free-agent contract this summer.

Still, that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort down the stretch displayed by the Celtics which ultimately played a major role in the loss.

“I mean, those are killer possessions when you have a stop and you just can’t finish that stop,” Stevens said.

Boston’s Terry Rozier added, “it’s tough. We are working so hard on defense and it happened a lot tonight where they got to the board before us. But that’s all effort and being tough.”

Rozier, who had seven rebounds but not a single one on the offensive glass against Washington, reminded folks that it wasn’t that long ago when the Celtics were among the top two or three teams in the league in rebounding percentage.

“So, like coach [Stevens] said, that’s a choice and we’ve got to make that choice to rebound,” Rozier said.

There is an undeniable disappointment in Monday’s loss to the Wizards, the kind of setback you don’t expect to see from a team that at one point this season reeled off 16 consecutive wins - the fourth-longest winning streak in Celtics history.

Stil, as Al Horford pointed out, there really isn’t at that much of a difference in the Celtics now, and the Celtics that won 16 straight.

“I actually think that we are better,” Horford said.


“Well we’re thirty-plus games in, we feel better as a group, we know each other a little more, Tatum has more experience,” Horford said. “A lot of our younger guys have more experience and we are going to continued to get better. It’s a long season, disappointed about tonight. I felt like we had our chances there to kind of take the game and we just didn’t take it.”


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