By; John McCormack
Well, here we are sitting down 2-1 to the one seed with things not looking so good. After game one, we all thought this series was over, but that was far from reality. Actually, this series might be over for the Celtics, not the Bucks. Plan and simple, win tonight and we’re alive. But lose tonight, and it’s basically all over. The Celtics need to do three things in order to turn this series around, and it starts tonight!
1. Stop the Transition/HUSTLE
Before this series started every basketball mind on the planet said the Celtics have to stop Milwaukee in transition. If Giannis gets a rebound he is 1000% marching up the court and taking the easy layup. Celtics won game one because they stopped the Bucks transition at half court, where they should be stopping it. Stopping the Bucks transition also has something to do with the Celtics lack of defense.
Basketball is a full court, 48 minute game that needs to be played at 100% on both sides of the ball. And frankly, the Celtics just aren’t playing that full 48 minutes. Half of stopping transition basketball is effort, and that’s something no fan sees right now in this team. The first game we got THE CELTICS but now it just seems like they’re playing like the Maine Redclaws. We have seen the Celtics play hard, but they have to play hard for the full 48 minutes.
2. Kyrie Needs to be Kyrie
Watching game 2 and 3 has been very frustrating as a Celtics fan. And as a Kyrie fan, I can confidently say he has been HORRIBLE. I don’t care if he is averaging 22ppg this playoffs, the last two losses to the Bucks he has had a minus on the plus/minus scale. Game 2 we know he had his historically poor performance with 9 points and -19. Even game 3, he had 29 points with -7, which is the exact amount the Celtics lost by, 123-116.
I don’t understand why the Celtics play so poorly when Kyrie is on the court, but they need to figure it out because tonight’s game is pivotal. I have noticed that Kyrie has been way too handsy with the ball and taking absolutely stupid shots. I think the first possession of game 3, he tried to break Eric Bledsoe’s ankles which ended up with a turnover. I’m all for watching Kyrie take over the game, but it has to be in the right way. Meaning maybe he doesn’t have to take around 20 shots a game, or maybe he should defer to Jayson and Jaylen. I’m not the biggest Jaylen Brown fan, but he did have an awesome game 3, and was hitting his shots.
I think Kyrie wants to show everyone that he can “go off” but everyone knows he can. What he needs to prove is that he can get everyone involved and learn when to take the shot or learn when to defer it.
3. Brad Stevens…
This ones a little awkward, kinda like Brad himself. Kidding, I love Brad. I think he’s a top 5 coach in the league, but I don’t think he knows what he is doing right now. I don’t think he knows how to handle this situation that the Celtics have been in all year, and I kind of don’t blame him. Stevens has never been in a situation like this where his team has been a legitimate title contender.
All of Stevens’ teams have lived off a similar motto: underdogs. Brad Stevens is an underdog type coach. It started with his college years at Butler where he brought them to two national championships, lost both. He brought that horrible Celtics team that was trying to tank to the 8 seed where they lost to the Cavs. Even during the Isaiah Thomas years, he fed off of IT’s underdog mentality, and it worked. It was never going to lead to a championship but we got pretty damn close. Brad Stevens is an awesome coach, but like all good ones you have to learn to change. Because the Celtics can no longer relate to this underdog spiel.
Aside from Stevens coaching style, his decision making this series has been questionable. He doesn’t know when to call a timeout, he’s playing players too many/not enough minutes, or he’s playing the wrong players at the wrong time. Terry Rozier should never be out there when the game is close. This is because “Terry Rozier has never seen a bad shot” said Terry Rozier. But seriously, between him and Marcus Morris they at least put up 10-12 unnecessary shots per game. Also throughout the whole season, Kyrie plays until the four minute mark in the first quarter and then comes out and sits until the 8 minute mark in the second. So why is Kyrie playing the whole first quarter? Brad stick to what has worked and execute it like it has worked all season.
I cannot emphasis how big tonight’s game is, but its a game 7 type scenario and the Celtics better show up. I think the Celtics will take game 4 tonight and tie this thing up, and hopefully they do everything I said. But please Celtics as a fan just show up and play hard for 48 minutes.
John McCormack (Uncle_Mac4)