Ime Udoka call out Celtics’ lack of mental toughness

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After the Boston Celtics blew their latest lead of the season in a heartbreaking 108-105 defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, coach Ime Udoka repeatedly called out his team for a lack of mental toughness. “I think it’s a lack of mental toughness to fight through those adverse times,” Udoka said after Knicks forward RJ Barrett’s banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer completed a 25-point Knicks comeback to stun the Celtics. “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.
Source: Tim Bontemps @ ESPN

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
New ESPN story: After Boston’s latest blown lead — losing for a league-leading fourth time after taking a 19-point lead — Thursday night, Celtics coach Ime Udoka repeatedly called out his team for a lack of mental toughness. espn.com/nba/story/_/id…1:06 AM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
This was the fourth time the Celtics have given up a comeback of at least 19 points and lost the game this season. No other team has done that more than twice.
“I think we get rattled at times when you can stop it at a 6-0 run, but instead you let it snowball.” – Ime Udoka – 10:54 PM

Tom Westerholm @Tom_NBA
Ime Udoka: “Across the board I think we haven’t had the best shooting year, so regardless of who we have handling out there, it’s not always gonna be the best shooters on the floor.”
Really odd quote with Grant Williams on the bench in crunch time. – 10:42 PM

John Karalis @John_Karalis
I asked Ime Udoka why he was playing Smart and Schröder together while also having Tatum handle the ball. Here’s his full answer: pic.twitter.com/ow8AfEeAoH10:39 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
The real crap part of this loss is that Jayson Tatum was great tonight. And down the stretch he made the right play over and over. Yet, Ime Udoka lumped him in with the rest with the “lacks mental toughness” comments. That’s pretty unfair, given Tatum’s play. – 10:27 PM

Chris Grenham @chrisgrenham
Here is Ime Udoka’s full answer when asked what the postgame message was for his team: pic.twitter.com/3Qq1zz5tzA10:25 PM

Mark Murphy @Murf56
Ime Udoka bemoaned the need for someone capable of calming his team down in tight spots. – 10:24 PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Celtics comments this season
Marcus Smart on Tatum and Brown: “They don’t want to pass the ball.”
Jaylen Brown on Al Horford’s comments: “Searching and looking in the mirror? Nah.”
Ime Udoka on team: “They lack mental toughness.” pic.twitter.com/IZwNxUo0kZ10:22 PM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Rob Williams asked about Ime Udoka saying the team needs mental toughness: “I feel like he’s 100% right to be honest. We get rattled a lot, especially when we’re facing adversity. We’ve got to find in ourselves the fight to just come together.” – 10:16 PM

Jay King @ByJayKing
Robert Williams said Ime Udoka is 100 percent right: “We get rattled a lot.” – 10:15 PM

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
Celtics coach Ime Udoka says his team lacks mental toughness, and that they get rattled in late game situations. Said they have to settle down and execute better in those moments. – 10:11 PM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Ime Udoka asked hot o fix mental toughness issues that see these huge leads collapse for Celtics: “It’s guys getting rattled when it’s not the end of the world. You still got a 12 point lead and you gotta end that run. You got to know time and score.” – 10:10 PM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Ime Udoka: “It’s a lack of mental toughness to fight through those adverse times. But it’s across the board, a missed shot, a defensive mistake here.” – 10:06 PM

Jay King @ByJayKing
Ime Udoka: “I think it’s a lack of mental toughness to fight through those adverse times.”
Said they need “a calming presence to slow us down and get us what we want” down the stretch. – 10:06 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Ime Udoka: “We need someone to stay calm late. Not someone adding to it when things start to get sped up. At times it feels like everyone tries to do it on their own.” – 10:05 PM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Ime Udoka says the Celtics lead better leadership, someone to stay calm when things get hectic: “Not adding to it when things start to get sped up. At times it feels like everyone tries to do it on their own.” – 10:03 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Ime Udoka: “It’s been the same result. We lack some kind of mental toughness there.” – 10:03 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Ime Udoka: “Repetitive result that keeps happening….We need some leadership. Someone that can calm us down in those situations.” – 10:03 PM

Chris Grenham @chrisgrenham
Ime Udoka said there’s a lack of mental toughness when things go bad in these fourth quarters. – 10:02 PM

Jay King @ByJayKing
Ime Udoka: “It’s been the same result. Some kind of lack of mental toughness there.” – 10:02 PM

Jay King @ByJayKing
Ime Udoka: “Repetitive result is happening.”
Said it will keep happening if the Celtics don’t make changes. Said they need leadership to stop them from getting rattled. – 10:02 PM

Chris Grenham @chrisgrenham
Ime Udoka:
“Repetitive result that keeps happening. … We need some leadership. Somebody that can calm us down (when things go south).” – 10:02 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Playing Smart and Schroder at the same time just doesn’t work. Ime Udoka needs to rethink that. – 9:47 PM

Chris Grenham @chrisgrenham
Ime Udoka on TNT:
“Get our composure back. Got it? It’s self-inflicted. Take care of the ball. Self-inflicted. … Weather the storm, get your heads up and go on a run ourselves.” pic.twitter.com/X1QDlmswlY9:30 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Ime Udoka went to his closing group very early. Really trying to not let this one get away. – 9:28 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Quick timeout by Ime Udoka early in the third quarter. Knicks have cut Boston’s lead from 25 points to 10 points.
14-0 Knicks run bridging the first and second halves. – 8:44 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Ime Udoka said that Grant Williams did bang his hand during last night’s game, but that he’s available to play tonight. – 6:05 PM

Chris Grenham @chrisgrenham
Ime Udoka says Grant Williams got hit on the hand late in last night’s game, but he’s good to go tonight. – 6:04 PM

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
Celtics coach Ime Udoka says everyone who was available last night is again today. A rare time Boston can say that this season. Udoka said it’s nice to have everyone, but that it doesn’t change the need to develop some consistency that simply hasn’t been there this season. – 6:03 PM

More on this storyline

“It’s guys getting rattled when it’s not the end of the world,” Udoka said. “You still have a 12-point, comfortable lead, and you gotta end that run. “We have to understand time and score, and we need a solid shot and not just get caught up in the game. You have to play the game different in the first quarter than the fourth quarter. Different when the team is going on the run, and when you’re getting stops and getting out running. “It’s not open gym. You can’t just play the same way the whole game. So we have to have better understanding of that, and get the quality of shot that we want to stop a run and not just get caught up in it and four, five guys make the wrong play and it starts to snowball.” -via ESPN / January 7, 2022

Keith Smith: Al Horford on who needs to fix things for Boston: “It comes from all of us. You know, Coach does what he has to do. But at the end of the day, it has to come from each individual player. We need to be accountable and held accountable. Individually, we need to look in the mirror.” -via Twitter @KeithSmithNBA / December 28, 2021

Keith Smith: Jaylen Brown was asked about Al Horford’s comment that the team is “searching” and “has to look in the mirror”. Brown said: “Searching and looking in the mirror? Nah. No comment.” -via Twitter @KeithSmithNBA / December 28, 2021