Jae Crowder on loss to 76ers: 'That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent'

Jae Crowder on loss to 76ers: 'That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent'

No matter how much Boston Celtics players talk about staying in the moment, they’re human. 

They pay attention to the basketball world around them far more than they try to let on. So prior to their two-game weekend trip to Brooklyn and Philadelphia, there was no need to talk to them much about Monday’s matchup against Washington. They knew it was coming which may have proven to be a bit of a distraction in their 105-99 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.

Boston struggled in so many phases of play, seemingly at their worst to end quarters which gave an already-improving Sixers team more confidence and momentum going forward as they rallied from a 13-point Celtics lead in the third quarter to get the win. 

You can count Jae Crowder among those who believes there were a few bodies inside the locker room who may have had some of their attention and focus away from the Sixers and on to the next game against the Wizards who are right behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. 

“We were talking about, a few guys overlooking this game; I think so, looking forward to the Washington game,” Crowder told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent, especially these guys.”

The Sixers came in having won two of its previous three games, the last of which was a blowout win over Dallas.

Dario Saric has emerged as their best player with Joel Embiid out for the rest of the season. Saric, a front-runner for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, led the Sixers with 23 points on 10-for-20 shooting on Sunday, in addition to grabbing six rebounds while dishing out four assists. 

Role players like Robert Covington (16 points, eight rebounds, two steals vs. Celtics on Sunday) have found ways to contribute while others such as Richaun Holmes (11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots) provide a specific niche that at the very least allows the Sixers to be more competitive. 

And while the Celtics led through various stretches all game, there was never a sense that they had full control of the game in large part because their level of focus never seemed to reach its peak. 

Now maybe not having Isaiah Thomas (knee) had something to do with that. Prior to Sunday’s game, Boston was 2-3 this season in games in which Thomas did not play. But that’s still no excuse for the team’s overall level of focus to not be high. In fact, one would think that playing without Thomas would have led to an increased level of focus and detail to try and make up for Thomas’ absence. 

“They’re very capable,” Crowder said of the Sixers. “They play so hard. A few of us were overlooking this game, going into tomorrow.” 

Stars, studs and duds: Another brilliant performance by Thomas

Stars, studs and duds: Another brilliant performance by Thomas

CHICAGO –  Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 104-95 Game 4 win over Chicago.
 
 
STARS
 
Isaiah Thomas

It was yet another brilliant performance by Thomas who has established himself as the most impactful performer in this series. He led the Celtics with 33 points on 10-for-21 shooting with seven assists.
 
Jimmy Butler

He matched Isaiah Thomas in terms of points, but didn’t get nearly as much help from those around him. Butler’s 33 points primarily came from the free throw line where he was 19-for-23. The 23 attempts ranks third all-time among Celtics playoff opponents from the line.
 
 
STUDS
 
Gerald Green

His scoring at the start of the game really set the tone for Boston. He finished with 18 points, 16 of which came in the first half.
 
Al Horford

For the second straight game, Horford was a decisive winner in the battle at center with Robin Lopez. He had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists and a blocked shot.
 
Kelly Olynyk

He didn’t play major minutes, but certainly was an important key in Boston getting the victory. He made all four of his shots from the field, finishing with 10 points to go with three rebounds and a blocked shot.
 

DUDS
 
Chicago’s point guards

Jerian Grant was an absolute disaster as a starter, missing all three of his shot attempts in less than five minutes of action. His backup, Michael Carter-Williams, wasn’t much better, either. Isaiah Canaan (13 points) was their best option and should be the starter for them in Game 5.

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart: 'He's a great actor, acting tough'

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart: 'He's a great actor, acting tough'

Jimmy Butler ripped Marcus Smart after Smart got in Butler's face during Game 4.

"As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he's a great actor," Butler said. "Acting tough, that's what he does. But I don't think he's about that, and I just don't think -- I'm the wrong guy to get in my face. He needs to take it somewhere else, because I'm not the one for that."

The two players confronted each other during the first half. They exhanged shoves before quickly getting separated by referees. The officials kept the dustup from escalating despite more Celtics and Bulls players getting into the mix.

Butler, who finished the game with 33 points, said he has no interest in getting into it with Smart again.

"That's the first time. The last time, too," Butler said. "We're not going to sit here and get in each other's faces. I'm not about that life, so he's calming down."