Three things to Know: Mitchell goes off for 40, adds to growing Celtics’ concerns LeBron pumps up son Bronny, says he looks better than guys seen on League Pass Scottie Barnes gets game-changing ejection for talking to himself Embiid scores 42, Harden has 20 assists, Sixers beat Pacers 147-143 Police in Colorado investigating Morant, potential gun law violation

“Three Things You Need to Know” is NBC’s five-day coverage of last night in the NBA. Check Every weekday morning for what you missed the night before, plus the gossip, drama, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.

1) Mitchell goes past 40, adding to the Celtics’ fears

“There are no moral victories in this shit. We must win games. Period.”

What happened Jaylen Brown after the Celtics lost a third in a row and a fourth in five games on Monday night, this time to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who swept the Celtics 118–114 in overtime. Boston was without Jason Tatum for this game (knee injury), but the problems are wider.

Whether they’re bored waiting for the playoffs or a little tired (or both), the Celtics have a bit of a squabble just when the teams need to toggle the switch and gear up for the playoffs.

Boston has cause for concern.

First, you need to pay tribute to the gentlemen, especially Donovan Mitchell, who dropped 40 points to a team built to slow down the elite wings, and his OT dunk was atrocious. Mitchell has been impressive in Cleveland this season and it’s just a continuation of his game all season long.

Evan Mobley scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as he found more success in the second half of the season, and Lamar Stevens gave the Cavs some clutch play. The Cavaliers are 7-0 in overtime this season.

As for Boston, it looks more like a problem of focus and desire than a systemic problem.

The Celtics have struggled with transitional defense lately, which in their case comes down to rush and execution. Defensive rebounding is tied into this – the Celtics are the best defensive rebounding team in the NBA this season, but they have errors at key moments (and they did again on Monday).

Then problems with the player. Grant Williams missed free throws that could have avoided OT – after telling Mitchell he’d do both – and has been in trouble lately. Brown and Jason Tatum play at the All-NBA level (Tatum will be in the top 5 in MVP voting), but they haven’t been consistent lately. Marcus Smart looks a step slower in points defense.

Last season, Ime Udoka knew how to break into this team, and by the end she made them work at a high level. Is it in Joe Mazzulla? Mazzulla has been a fantastic manager all season, keeping the continuity and not letting the Udoka situation detract, but can he keep this team focused on the playoffs (and is he a good playoff manager)? His biggest trials are yet to come.

These are first-world problems—the Celtics are 45-21 and the third-best record in the NBA, despite recent blunders. But this team is all-in, title or bust, and they pass the test.

There are no more moral victories, this team needs to win some games.

2) How are things with I am Morant and Grizzly? Update.

After a day of news updates and a lot of media hand-wringing, here’s how Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies fared a few days after he flashed the gun on his own Instagram live stream from the club on Saturday morning.

• He remains off the team after the incident and tonight (Tuesday) he will miss his second game, this time against the Lakers (who will be without LeBron James).

• Morant is likely to be out longer than the two games originally mentioned by the Grizzlies. Coach Taylor Jenkins said: “There are no exact dates. [for a return]. I mean, we said it would be at least two games, you know, we take them one day at a time. I mean it will be an ongoing healing process.”

• Police in Glendale, Colorado (part of the Denver metropolitan area), where the gun abandonment incident occurred, are investigating to see if any laws were violated. Colorado is an open-carry state, but there are some restrictions and many questions about whose gun it is and how it got into the club.

• The NBA is also investigating who the gun is and how it got into the club. The league has an anti-gun policy on team property or while traveling on team business – if Morant is found to have carried his gun on a team plane, it’s an automatic 50-game suspension.

• Regardless of where the guns come from, there are rumors that the only way the league can formally suspend the Grizzlies is by removing him from the team. Pay Gap – Morant is still collecting checks while away from the team, no league suspension (or official team suspension, a wording the Grizzlies haven’t used yet) is unpaid.

• The Grizzlies held a team meeting led by a veteran Stephen Adamsabout behavior and going on the road – it was a couple of days before Morant went to the club and turned on Instagram Live.

• Sponsors have plans to introduce Morant in the coming months – during March Madness, Powerade ads will air across your TV or streaming device, and his signature Nike shoes will go on sale next month. It hasn’t changed, but you can be sure the backers have noticed (and probably talked to him).

• Over the weekend, Morant issued a statement: “I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I apologize to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis, and the entire organization for letting you down. I’m going to take some time off to get help and work on learning more effective ways to deal with stress and my general well-being.”

• The Grizzlies’ players and organization have embraced him and see this as an opportunity to help the young man find his way, not just punish him. There have been concerns about his off-court behavior and that of his teammates, and the Grizzlies see this as a chance to change that dynamic, and not just through discipline.

• Ultimately, it’s Morante. Those associates around him partly because he is the breadwinner of the group – if Morant says that “from now on, everything will be like this”, they will comply, because he has the power. He is a person who is making choices now and he is wise to take some time to think about everything and decide what he wants his path to be.

3) Joel Embiid, James Harden keep putting on a show for the 76ers

While Boston has been arguing a bit, Philadelphia looks like the team has found its way.

Joel Embiid scored 42 points on 11-of-16 shooting (with 19 free throws), while Harden added 20 assists (plus 14 points and nine rebounds) as the 76ers pulled past the Pacers to win 147-143.

This game was fun to watch, and that evening the coaches were tearing their hair out – there was practically no protection. It was an old-fashioned shootout, but the Sixers found a way to win. Tyrese Maxi scored 24 and Jalen McDaniels added 20.

The 76ers won 3 of 4 on a tough journey.

Many predict that Bronnie James will be selected in the first round of the 2024 NBA draft, but how high depends on whose rating you trust. What is certain is that he is a four-star rookie who has improved in key aspects of his game over the past couple of seasons and has impressed many scouts.

He has one proud dad – an injured dad who has little time to watch games. LeBron James goes over the top like proud dads would. LeBron tweeted this on Monday night. (we don’t post the actual tweet because of the language):

Man Bronnie is definitely better than some of those cats I saw today at the league pass. S*** easy fun

LeBron drew a few Lavar Ball comparisons to this tweet (and like Ball’s kids, no one probably has a better take on their father than a teenage son). This is unfair, LeBron was clearly having fun, not being serious.

It also sparked a lot of NBA Twitter speculation about who LeBron was referring to (he may have been watching the Pelicans in the fourth quarter). Again, he wasn’t serious, and secondly, he’s a dad, he probably thinks his son is the best of everyone who played last night, except Joel Embiidand this is up for debate.

The most realistic thing that LeBron could take away from last night when his son moved to the league is that Scott Foster will probably kick him out of the game at some point for nothing.

LeBron said he would like to play with Bronnie, or at least in the league at the same time as him. It’s the same…


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