Sunday, December 4

Celtics know that better days need to be ahead


Jaylene Brown said Tatum’s address was important. The Celtics entered Saturday tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference, 7½ games back from first-place Miami with the Heat coming to town Monday.

“It’s extremely important,” Brown said. “At times it seems like we win a couple of games and we lose that edge. JT said something at shootaround and it was accurate. We just gotta continue to have that edge, come out ready to attack, ready to win.

“Sometimes, it just feels like we’re out there playing basketball. We just gotta be better. I gotta be better. [Friday] I turned the ball over way too much, so I can’t make excuses for that, and I gotta be better and I will be.”

Handling his business

Brown tied his season high with seven turnovers Friday, and he’s averaging a career high three per game this season. It seems teams are raking at Brown as he dribbles into the paint and getting strips.

”I give Atlanta credit, they did a good job of being active and having active hands,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to make better reads. I gotta make better reads, gotta be more aggressive. I think I was shooting when I was supposed to pass and passing when I supposed to shoot. Atlanta did a good job of keeping me on my toes. Just overall, a lax game, too many turnovers, and that’s my fault.”

Brown committed a total of three turnovers in his previous three games, a span of 90 minutes, before his performance against the Hawks.

long shots

The Celtics were guilty of playing hero ball when they were closing in on Atlanta in the fourth quarter. With either a chance to take the lead or tie, the Celtics reverted to 3-point shots — even though they were 7 for 36 from beyond the arc. Tatum, Brown, and Dennis Schroder each missed their attempts, and the Celtics watched the Hawks go on a game-deciding 17-2 run.

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Tatum said it’s tempting to try to seize the momentum with a big 3-pointer.

”I think that’s the beauty of what I do and my job,” Tatum said. “A lot of people can try to say what I could or should have done, and ultimately I get to make the final decision and gotta live with it. But I’m far from perfect; there are a lot of things I wish I would have done differently. But sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You learn from it, and move on to the next game.”

Tatum was 16-for-28 shooting from the 3-point line in his previous two games, but 2 of 8 Friday. He had been in a season-long slump from beyond the arc.

Healthy opportunity

The Pelicans were short handed again Saturday, missing starting center Jonas Valanciunas (illness) and forward Brandon Ingram (ankle). Devon Graham it was a game-time decision. The Celtics were again completely healthy, with the lone injuries to recently acquired bowl bowl and PJ Dozier . . . Because of the snowstorm, the Celtics will travel back to Boston on Sunday morning, several hours after they originally planned to leave New Orleans. It may make for weary bodies coming off back-to-back games, and the Heat (Monday) and Hornets (Wednesday) offer no breaks.


Gary Washburn is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.




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