Morning sports update: ESPN analyst calls Celtics’ defeat to Pelicans ‘the worst loss of the year’

"You've got to close that out if you want to be taken seriously as a contender in this league, particularly with that much offensive talent."

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker drives against Nicolo Melli. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Set to the picturesque backdrop on the shore of Lake Tahoe, the Bruins defeated the Flyers 7-3 on Sunday night.

Boston, attending the game with a ’90s theme look, scored three goals in 99 seconds on their way to victory. David Pastrnak unsurprisingly led the Bruins in scoring, notching a hat-trick. Afterward, however, Pastrnak’s thoughts were elsewhere:

Also on Sunday, the Celtics lost to the Pelicans in overtime, 120-115. Jayson Tatum led Boston with 32 points, but it wasn’t enough as the team suffered another frustrating defeat.

The state of the Celtics: At 15-15, the Celtics have underachieved compared with the team’s preseason expectations.


And following the 120-115 overtime loss to the Pelicans on Sunday — in which Boston let a 24-point third quarter lead slip away — analysis of the Celtics has become increasingly critical.

“When you’re up 24 points if you’re Boston with six minutes left in the third quarter to a mediocre-t0-below-average defensive team, you just can’t lose the game,” said ESPN analyst Tim Legler in an interview on Sunday.

Legler presented video analysis showing how despite Celtics forward Jayson Tatum making passes to open players when he drew double-teams from the Pelicans, Boston was unable to score. He concluded that the Celtics’ loss on Sunday stood out, even in comparison to a bevy of recent defeats.


“You’ve got to close that out if you want to be taken seriously as a contender in this league, particularly with that much offensive talent,” Legler explained. “For me, in a series full of bad losses for the Celtics, this to me is the cherry on the sundae.

“This is the worst loss of the year because of the lead they had against a team that wasn’t playing well, was very frustrated, and is not a good defensive team,” Legler added. “You can’t have that kind of a drought to allow a team back into the game. Eventually their great offensive players took over, Zion [Williamson] and Brandon Ingram.”


Boston is back on the court on Tuesday against the Mavericks in Dallas at 7:30 p.m.

Trivia: Before Sunday, the last time the Bruins and Flyers played outdoors was at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in 2010. Boston won in overtime, 2-1. Who scored the winning goal for the Bruins?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was born in Dingolfing, Germany.

More from Boston.com:

Trent Frederic’s first career NHL goal came in outdoor hockey: The replay shows the shot from a perfect angle.

California native Max Homa’s emotional reaction after winning his hometown tournament: Homa, 30, defeated Tony Finau in a playoff to win the Genesis Invitational.


On this day: In 1980, Al Michaels delivered his famous line at the end of the United States men’s Olympic hockey team’s truly miraculous 4-3 upset over the Soviet Union in the Lake Placid medal round.

Daily highlight: Grant Smith of Indiana Tech sprinted to get open before catching a perfectly thrown inbounds pass with just 1.3 seconds remaining. He then turned and launched an off-balance shot, nailing the buzzer-beater 3-pointer to secure a win over Lourdes, 81-80.

Trivia answer: Marco Sturm

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