Kendrick Perkins hits Celtics with harsh truth bomb after epic collapse vs Hawks

Kendrick Perkins hits Celtics with harsh truth bomb after epic collapse vs Hawks

Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Jayson Tatum, Hawks, Hawks Celtics

The Celtics folded like a lawn chair on Monday.

With under five minutes left in the second quarter on Monday evening, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics led the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 68-38, looking to be well on their way to a tenth straight win. Tatum had put together an impressive performance up to that point, scoring at ease but never forcing anything, and the Celtics–playing without both Derrick White and Jrue Holiday–looked like they were in a different stratosphere than the banged-up Hawks squad they were annihilating.

Atlanta outscored Boston by thirty in the second half from behind the three-point line, and the Celtics amazingly were able to muster up as many points in the final two frames combined (44) as they did in the first quarter alone en route to an embarrassing 120-118 loss. The 30-point blown lead was the largest for Boston in nearly three decades and did nothing to quiet concerns from the fanbase regarding the team’s tendency to take their foot off of the gas too early.

One person who shares those concerns is none other than former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins, who recently took to ESPN’s NBA Today to cast some doubt over just how dominant Boston truly is.

“This is a habit, and teams are looking at them and saying, ‘You know what? If we do those things, we actually could beat them…’ They do not fear the Boston Celtics,” said Perkins, per NBA on ESPN on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter.

Losses have been few and far between for the Celtics

Of course, hours before the fiasco in Atlanta, the Celtics had already clinched the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, rendering the game’s result quite literally meaningless in the grand scheme of things. However, squandering leads of epic proportions has indeed been one of the rare weak points for a team that has otherwise been dominant in 2023-24.

One need look back no further than earlier this month, when the Celtics’ saw a 20-point lead evaporate within the span of one quarter vs the Cleveland Cavaliers, for another example. On Monday in Atlanta, Boston had several possessions late in crunch time that featured either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown dribbling out the entirety of the shot clock before launching contested fadeaway jumpers. As talented as Tatum and Brown are, they are simply not on the level of a Kobe Bryant or a Kevin Durant, two of the handful of players in NBA history for which a possession like those described above would actually be considered “good.”

The reality of the situation is that Boston might be so good that they don’t even need to worry about crunch time offense, as teams–especially those in the East–will likely be unable to keep up with their immense talent and cohesion in order to make the game close down the stretch. However, once Boston inevitably races out to those gargantuan leads, it will be important that they continue to do the things that helped them build those advantages, as opposed to diverting to hero ball.

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