The Boston Celtics continue to dig themselves deeper into an unsuccessful season after every game. Boston currently ranks eighth in the Eastern Conference and are one game under a .500 record this season. Celtics coach Brad Stevens has not been pleased with his team’s production and effort level so far through the second half of the season. To which he finally expressed his frustrations.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens finally expresses his frustration with his team’s recent struggles
“As a coach you should always not put a ceiling on your team and you should always have faith. That said, it’s not time to dream about the future. It’s time to do it now. Like, we need to play better. We need to show up and compete every night with urgency, all the way through the game regardless of what just happened. And so, I don’t really care about the future and I don’t really care about the first 48 games. Like, what are we going to do? That’s just the question. It’s time to show up.” – Brad Stevens, via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston
This outburst from Stevens is directly after a loss to the Dallas Mavericks and is 100 percent valid. This loss featured the Celtics coming back from a 19 point deficit to end up losing by five points. Adding more fuel to the fire, the Boston Celtics outscored the Mavericks 63-49 in the second half of the game and were still unable to earn a victory in the Boston TD Garden. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough to overcome Luka Doncic’s 36 point outing.
During his rant, coach Stevens mentioned that his team allows adversity to take over for far too long during games. In turn, it takes the Celtics out of games to the point where a comeback would seem far-fetched. Specifically, in Wednesday’s game, the C’s didn’t have an answer for Doncic. In fairness to him, Doncic was connecting on some insane shots from all over the floor. By Doncic doing what he does best, it drained all motivation out of the Celtics.
”You know, Luka goes on his run, and instead of coming back again — it was just like the other night. He comes down, he just hit an impossible shot; you tip your cap, come down and be even more focused to get a great shot on offense, right? Same thing. It’s just the same old story — 12-minute droughts because we don’t respond. And then, we pick ourselves up and we got a big deficit.” – Brad Stevens, via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston
This is what Stevens is talking about. There were multiple moments during this game where Jayson Tatum was trying too hard to force something to happen on offense. He held the ball for an entire 24 second period without even passing it or trying to create a successful shot opportunity for himself. And then he would look to complain to the referees for not calling a foul to send him to the line. The Celtics aren’t going to be able to win games like this.
Tatum can’t let his emotions get in the way of the team. And that’s what we’re seeing more often than not. When something doesn’t go his way on offense, he lets it affect him on the defensive end as well. And then it ends up becoming a dragged-out issue for too long during a game. No matter what happens on the offensive end of the court, the Celtics can’t let it compromise their defense. By the Celtics allowing adversity to get in the way, the Mavericks shot an impressive 48.7 percent from behind the arc.
Stevens is the scapegoat for the Celtics
Throughout the majority of this season, coach Stevens has been looked at as the person to blame for an unsuccessful season. Fans and members of the media all believe that a coaching change will be best for the Celtics moving forward to next season. The thing is, there aren’t many people who like Stevens’ coaching style. And that element blinds their perception of everything else that has been wrong with this team.
Stevens takes a calm approach to coaching, especially being on a team of professional athletes. The Celtics are a young team and Stevens believes this is the best way he can get through to his players, as well as earn their respect. And unfortunately, that doesn’t sit well with many people.
Unfortunately, Stevens has taken most of the heat regarding the Celtics’ struggles this season. Yes, he’s the coach, but the roster is given to him by Danny Ainge. To which Stevens does the best he can do with what he is given. This team looks outstanding on paper. But the lack of positional depth across the chart and hesitating to upgrade the roster using the traded player exception is on the shoulders of Ainge and not Stevens.
The Boston Celtics have 23 games left this season. And climbing back up the rankings in the Eastern Conference is not impossible by any means. But is this a team that can truly block out the adversity and muster up a playoff run this season? We’ll see.