Thank God for the All-Star break, because the Celtics need it. Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers was their third straight, and it’s the second straight game in which they gave up 120+ points. They’re really going to have to regroup here.
Where’s the Defense?
Although they still lead the league in defensive rating, Boston’s defense has been suspect. This team has just not been able to make any defensive stops. LeBron and his shiny new toys stepped into the Garden on Sunday and the Celtics had no answer. On Wednesday night, they allowed DeAndre Jordan and the Clips to penetrate the paint all night. Jordan had 30 points— a season high I’m pretty sure. If you’re allowing your opponent 56 points in the paint, you are clearly not playing hard enough on defense. What they were doing tough, is playing silly. There were a number of bad fouls committed by the Cs, which put them into an even deeper hole. I know they’re missing defensive warrior Marcus Smart, but they’ve got to be able to adjust.
Celtics Shaking Things Up?
It appears coach Brad Stevens has thought about switching the lineup. This loss will for sure solidify that decision. Defensively, I don’t know if it’s so much a line up issue. It just feels like lackluster effort on the part of the Celtics, which is odd. But the offensive production has been and still is a huge concern. The rookies stepped up big when Irving, Morris, Larkin and Smart were out. But since Morris and Irving’s return, Nader’s minutes have dramatically decreased. Meanwhile, Ojeleye is on this wild roller coaster of either 20 minutes or no playing time at all. I’m no coach, but let them play on a consistent basis. It takes some weight off the starters and their minutes can be spread out more evenly. I don’t know, but hopefully we can see some sort of turnaround when Smart and Larkin get back. I feel some experiments coming. Is there a world where Jaylen Brown DOESN’T start? Or where Greg Monroe DOES? Maybe even taking some perceived pressure off of Tatum and making him apart of the second unit? Decisions, decisions.
I really hope they can use this break as a time to reflect and get on the same page. But I also hope they use it to relax and have fun Congrats to Al and Kyrie on being All-Stars and to Jayson and Jaylen on being in the Rising Stars game. It’s about to be lit!
Cover image courtesy of CelticsLife.com.