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#pounditFriday, June 21, 2024

Ime Udoka has brutal assessment of Celtics after latest blown lead

Ime Udoka

The Boston Celtics have been consistently frustrating all season long, and coach Ime Udoka is definitely feeling that way after the team’s latest loss.

The Celtics lost to the New York Knicks 108-105 on Thursday, blowing a 25-point lead and losing on a buzzer-beating three by RJ Barrett. The collapse was the latest in a string of them for Boston, which has blown four leads of at least 19 points in only 39 games. That had Udoka questioning the Celtics’ mental toughness and suggesting the team is not good at slowing things down during moments of high pressure.

“I think it’s a lack of mental toughness to fight through those adverse times,” Udoka said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “To your point, it’s across the board. It’s a turnover here, a bad shot here, a missed defensive assignment here, and several missed rebounds tonight.

“So it’s a lot of different things. And then, like I said, a calming presence to slow it down and get us what we want is really what you need at that point. And sometimes we all get caught up in it.”

This is not a good look for the Celtics, who have been the subject of persistent culture concerns. Those issues date back to last season, when a team leader seemingly questioned the nightly effort from his teammates. The concerns have lingered this season, particularly after the team’s two stars received some public criticism from Marcus Smart early in the year.

The Celtics are just 18-21 so far this season. They have time to salvage the campaign, but some things are clearly going to need to change.


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