After latest loss for Celtics, it's 1 step forward, 2 stars down


If you want to feel good about something after the Celtics' defenseless 129-119 loss to a solid Trail Blazers team at TD Garden, know that Boston finally got the player it had been hoping for with the performance of Evan Fournier.

The team's big trade deadline acquisition netted 21 points in 34 minutes, going 5-for-7 from beyond the 3-point stripe while making more than a few much-needed hustle plays on defense.

After the game, Fournier revealed that such production had been few and far between in large part because of lingering effects from his COVID-19 diagnosis.

"I've been feeling really weird, to be honest," Fournier said. "My plan was to stop talking about it so it might help me, but the thing is it's like I have a concussion. Right now, it's actually doing a little bit better; but at first, the bright lights were bothering my eyes, and my vision was blurry.

"Everything was just going too fast for me. It's still the case. Some stuff is better, but at times, I'm really struggling to focus, and my eyes keep struggling focusing on one thing. My depth perception is really bad right now. But I saw a specialist, and she gave me some exercises, and hopefully, it'll get better."

Want more optimism? The Aaron Nesmith hype train only continues to gain momentum with yet another standout showing, netting 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting (4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc) in just 20 minutes.

All of that really had to be pushed well back in the second wave of water cooler talk. For that we can thank the image Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum crumpled on the sideline in the final minute of the game thanks to a collision between the Celtics' star duo.

While Tatum told the media he thought he would be fine, it was Brown who offered perhaps the most concern, not putting any weight on his right leg while leaving the floor.

As we sit here, the Celtics are probably not feeling their most optimistic with seven regular season games left. They sit in the Eastern Conference's No. 7 seed, one game in back of both the Hawks and Heat and 2 1/2 in back for No. 4 seed New York.

Kemba Walker -- who didn't play this time around -- is still being managed, and how you have potentially biggest dagger of them all, the Brown/Tatum collision.

At least Brad Stevens and Co. will now have two days to contemplate their existence.