OPINION: What’s wrong with the Boston Celtics?

By on March 5, 2019

The Boston Celtics suffered a 97-92 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on last Wednesday, making that their fourth straight loss in a row. After the game, Brad Stevens expressed what has to happen for the team to get back on track.

“I think we are desperate for a win and to feel good about ourselves,” Stevens said.

I think the Celtics problem is that players haven’t accepted their roles this year. This is leading to the Celtics not playing together as a team.

Celtics starting shooting guard Marcus Smart expressed what he thinks the issue is with the team.

“We’re just not together that’s it,” said Smart. “Plain and simple. That’s it. Because if we were together, that wouldn’t happen.”

Comments like these have been a common theme for the Celtics this season. Following the Celtics’ 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic in their next game on Jan. 13, Yahoo’s Keith Smith reported what Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said after the game.

“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals,” Irving said.

The frustration grew even more for the Celtics after they blew a 28-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night on Feb. 9 coming off blowing an 18 point-lead to the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 7. After the game, Marcus Morris expressed his frustration to the media.

“We’re going to lose games, but we don’t have no attitude, we don’t have no toughness, we ain’t having fun,” Morris said.

This frustration that Morris showed was building earlier in the season. The team called for a player meeting on Dec. 21, after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 120-107 on their home floor. On Jan. 10, in Miami, Morris pushed teammate Jaylen Brown during a timeout.

This shows the Celtics are having the same issues as they were three weeks ago and earlier in the season. There has been no improvement with the team chemistry.

Recently, in the Celtics 118-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors Feb. 26, Smart and Morris showed frustration toward Brown when he got called for a charge instead of finding Marcus Smart who was wide open in the right corner.

The other factor that I think is causing these issues are the younger guys such as Brown and starting small forward Jayson Tatum, are more worried about their future because there are rumors that they would be involved in being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans this summer for Anthony Davis.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania said before the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 7 that, “Boston made their intentions clear to New Orleans Pelicans surrounding their pursuit of All-NBA star Anthony Davis after the season.” Sources later on told the Athletic that, “Everyone can be available.”

Even though the Celtics have lost five of their last six games, I do not think they are in trouble. They are a combined 7-4 vs the Bucks, Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers.These are the teams who will compete for a championship in the East.

I will consider the Celtics in trouble if they do not get home court in the first round of the playoffs. This team is going to be judged by what they do in the postseason because of the success they had last year where they lost in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Going forward, I think the team has to start to play together as a unit if their ultimate goal is to win a championship. They have sacrificed and accept that they won’t have as big of roles as they would like to have.

For this to happen, Irving has to be the leader of the team and bring the team together. He is the only player on the team with a championship and knows how to deal with adversity playing alongside former teammate LeBron James in Cleveland. Their effort has to be better as a team with this much talent. They should never let a Raptors team go on an 18-0 run in the second quarter.

A change I would like to see going forward is Brown being put into the starting lineup to replace Smart. Brown has been efficient over his last seven games, averaging 13.4 points per game. He would give the team an opportunity to get out in transition more to get easy baskets, as the team has struggled from three, shooting 19-92 from three in their last three games. Smart would give the same energy and effort off the bench as he would when he is starting because he does not need to score to play well or have a major impact on the game.

The schedule does not get any easier for the Celtics. Eight of their next 12 games are against teams over .500. They have a four-game road trip beginning on March 5 vs. the Golden State Warriors followed by the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. We will find out where the Celtics are as a team during this road trip.

This team has too much talent to keep struggling and suffering these frustrating loses. They lost to the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns at home earlier in the season, who are the two worst teams in the league. The loses to both Los Angeles teams on Feb. 7 and Feb. 9 were the most frustrating loses of the season. The lowest point for the Celtics season was losing 126-116 to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 23, who are currently 18-46.

The Celtics are still having a good season, as they are currently 38-26, but expectations were much higher for a team this year as the star players Kyrie Irving and shooting guard Gordon Hayward returned from injury.

The Celtics finished their three-game homestand beating the Wizards 107-96 on Friday and losing to the Houston Rockets 115-104 on Sunday. The team will look to bounce back on Tuesday night vs. the Warriors.

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