I know everyone has been so preoccupied with the Patriot’s ensuring their trip to the Super Bowl that the other Boston sports have been forgotten. But it’s time to come back to reality and realize our Celtics are struggling right now. They have now lost three in a row at home, with the latest loss being to a below .500 Magic team.

Loss to the Magic

Boston fell to the Magic 103-95. Kyrie Irving came back after missing the previous game with shoulder soreness. He put up forty points, but it wasn’t enough to pull the Cs out of the hole. Every time they got close, the Magic pulled away again. They did have a one-point lead going into halftime but they couldn’t expand. The only real offensive help Irving received was from Brown and Morris, who had seventeen and twelve points respectively. Tatum had a rough afternoon: nine points on 4-11 shooting; 1-4 from three. Horford had almost identical stats, but instead was 1-2 from three. The bench was also a disappointment with only six points. Smart and Rozier both played around twenty minutes and only contributed two points each. But I would like to point out how bad the officiating was too. The Cs probably could have pulled out a close one had every call not been in the Magic’s favor.

What’s the Issue?

The issue is quite simple: the offense is sporadic. What I mean is there is only consistency from one person and we all know he cannot continue to do this alone. Here are my concerns:

  • Al Horford has taken less shots compared to the beginning of the season. He’s fallen into more of a facilitator’s role. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at it, but I really miss the twenty points he used to put up.
  • Jayson Tatum also needs to find his rhythm again because anything under ten points just isn’t going to cut it. But I’m not going to be too hard on him because maybe he just hit that ‘rookie wall’.
  • The Cs rank twenty-third in bench scoring with 31.3. That obviously isn’t enough. It’s sad because they were having a good run, but have since cooled off. The leaders off the bench have to light that fire again, ASAP.

The only thing saving this team right now—by just a thread—is that their defensive rating still ranks first in the league.

How Do the Celtics Feel About Their Recent Woes?

On yesterday’s ESPN’s The Jump, host Rachel Nichols with guests Brian Windhorst and Byron Scott discussed the topic briefly. They brought up the two different responses from two of the Celtics’ leaders:

  • Al Horford said ‘I feel like we’re fighting for our lives right now’.
  • Kyrie Irving, in a nutshell, said that this losing streak is an opportunity to grow and learn from mistakes.

Byron Scott, a three-time NBA champion and former coach of the year, found satisfaction in both responses. Horford’s response to the losing streak offers his team a push. There hasn’t been that sense of urgency like there was pre-2018, but their schedule hasn’t helped. They had five days each in between pre-London and post-London, so their rhythm may be a bit off. On the other hand, Irving’s response is a bit more positive but it also comes with a challenge. Yes, it’s an opportunity to grow as a team, but will we come together or come undone?

I have no doubt that the Celtics will figure it out. Not just the players, but coach Stevens as well. I’m sure he’ll find a way to make these line ups work on both sides of the ball.

Cover image courtesy of NESN.com.