BOSTON (CBS) — In basketball, turnovers come in many forms: bad passes, offensive fouls, traveling violations, and stepping out of bounds. Wednesday night at the TD Garden, fans witnessed the Celtics make all of those miscues (and many more) in the midst of a disappointing 110-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
In all, the Celtics committed 28 turnovers on the evening, which proved to be a nearly historic high for the franchise. The last time Boston turned the ball over that many times in a single game was over 25 years ago on November 18, 1989 against Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons.READ MORE: Breaking And Entering Suspect Caught On Camera In Brookline
After Wednesday night’s game, head coach Brad Stevens reflected on his team somehow finding a way to lose the ball without a shot on a staggering 23 percent of their possessions.
“I thought most of our turnovers were in the half-court and late in the clock,” Stevens said after the game. “I’d have to go back and watch to say that for sure, but they got active hands in the half-court, and we didn’t respond as well as we needed to.
“We knew that going in–we talked about it this morning, we talked about it this afternoon, and talked about the need for really precise execution, and I thought we did that at times and we didn’t at times. But again, I think the overarching theme was [Toronto’s] physicality and their athleticism was a major factor.”
Early in the young season, the Raptors do rank among the best teams in the league in forcing turnovers (2nd overall), but they were a bit shorthanded last night, missing both members of their starting frontcourt (Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas). The absences of both big men gave Boston a better opportunity to steal a win, and after the game, several members of the Celtics roster lamented that missed chance.
“With 28 turnovers, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Kelly Olynyk said. “Teams are going to beat you, but when you look at that, it’s kind of like we just beat ourselves.”
Jared Sullinger put the blame on himself and his teammates, rather than crediting Toronto for any increase in defensive intensity.READ MORE: Hopkinton High School First In State To Drop Mask Mandate
“Some of those [turnovers] were just us,” Sullinger said. “We were driving the ball and it kind of comes off our legs. Making our normal passes, not getting them through. It was just a normal day at the office for us, doing the normal stuff that we do, and it was just kind of the ball wasn’t falling our way.”
Team captain Rajon Rondo also put it on himself to lead the way in being more careful with the basketball moving forward.
“Some [turnovers] were forced, some were unforced so it’s part of the game. It starts with me. I had five myself. I’ve pretty much been averaging five turnovers [per game] so I need to take better care of the ball,” Rondo explained.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Wednesday’s constant mistakes overshadowed plenty of positives within the outing. The team shot over 50 percent and outrebounded Toronto as a team by an incredible 55-24 margin, both factors that helped Boston build a big 16-point lead in the first half.
“We came out with fire, we came out aggressive, played well, but you can’t win with as many turnovers as we had today,” Sullinger acknowledged. “It’s just impossible in the NBA.”
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.MORE NEWS: 'Our Kids Deserve Better': Photos Show Spoiled Meals Served To Lynn Elementary Students
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