The Boston Celtics continue to struggle after losing last night’s game against the New York Knicks 102-93. While the Cs were able to shut down Porzingis, Michael Beasley stepped in and scored 32 points off the bench. Kyrie also had 32 points for Boston, but no one even cares enough to mention it because they have now lost five of their last nine.
Boston Celtics’ Second Unit Troubles
It’s no secret that Boston’s bench doesn’t have very much depth. They have role players in Smart, Rozier, Theis, Larkin, etc. but the problem is the lack of consistency. When the second unit comes in, more often than not they look sluggish and sloppy. This has led to low scoring second quarters that ultimately have a huge impact on the game. Brad Stevens has tried to find different combinations of guys to provide that spark, in hopes of avoiding the need to make a comeback. It looked as though he had something when he took Tatum and Horford out early so that they could be a part of the second unit. It worked, considering the Celtics got the win. But the Cs reverted back to their struggling ways against the Heat and Knicks.
Kyrie Carrying the Load
Although the C’s won the game against the Hornets in which Kyrie injured his face, they were definitely exposed in the game against the Bulls. If it wasn’t already, it’s clear now that he is a difference maker for this team. When things are looking bleak, we can always count on him to sacrifice his body to get to the basket or draw the foul. He has scored 30+ points in six of the last nine games. But he can’t win by himself. He needs consistency from his teammates EVERY GAME. Opponents are starting to realize what they need to do to shut down Tatum and Brown, so they must continue to make adjustments. The bench also needs to find some confidence and come out aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Miraculously, the Boston Celtics rank second in defensive efficiency, just behind OKC. So, the defense appears to be holding up, but in some games it has definitely been lacking. They have given up 100+ points in eight games since their streak ended. During the streak, they only had three such games. On offense, they need to find some rhythm and energy with these second unit combinations. Hopefully Marcus Morris can get healthy enough to play on a regular basis. I know there’s a plan laid out for his recovery, but we could really use him. Oh, and another thing: if the jump shots aren’t falling, be aggressive and go to the basket. By the time they decide to actually do this in most games, it’s too late. A little more awareness can go a long way.
The Celtics are home Saturday to play the Bulls in a revenge game. We’ll have Kyrie this time, so hopefully it won’t be a blowout by one of the worst teams in the league.
The last time Boston lost two in a row they went streaking. Maybe Saturday will be the start of something new…