I mean honestly, what is going with this Celtics team? Last week, I was so excited about this team and talking about them being NBA finals contenders. Now? We got the Celtics losing 4 of 5, all four losses at home, and two off them by one point? Yeah, that’s not gonna fly here with Celtics fans. Here’s a few thoughts I have as to why the Celtics don’t look like themselves right now.
Jaylen Brown’s Absence
The absence of Jaylen Brown is evident. Brown is probably the second best player you have on the Celtics roster, behind Jayson Tatum. The fourth year forward out of UC Berkeley is a constant perimeter threat and a defensive presence the Celtics desperately miss. If the Celtics want to get back on the winning track, then they need Brown back in the starting lineup ASAP.
Kemba Walker’s Play Since Returning From Injury
The #Celtics have lost four of five. Kemba Walker's played in three of those games. All losses.
The All-Star's averages:
31.9 FG% (15.7 FGA)
25% (9.3 3PA)
91.7 FT% (4 FTA)
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) March 9, 2020
Kemba hasn’t been playing well since returning from injury. In three games, the All-star guard is averaging 16 points a game. That isn’t the Celtics guard that I’ve been watching this entire season. Plus, what was THIS last night?
I am sick. Absolutely pathetic pic.twitter.com/o5Lk8YFNOa
— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) March 9, 2020
You CANNOT lose the ball in crunch time. You’re up one with less than 15 seconds left. Hold the ball, let OKC foul and send you to the line. Then, you’re probably up three with about 10-11 seconds left in the game. Walker is smarter than that. He cannot let that happen, especially in the games the Celtics are supposed to win. If the Celtics want to get back on the right track, they also need Walker to go back to the first half of the season man that won over Boston.
Late Game Execution
The Brooklyn game was horrific. The Rockets game, you allowed James Harden to get fouled late. This game, you have a costly turnover that leads to a crushing loss. The Celtics have to be able to finish off games. When they get to the playoffs, late game execution will be crucial. Better get those mistakes out now because once playoffs start, there’s zero excuses.
This Celtics team should be cruising into Indiana and Milwaukee. You might catch a break in Milwaukee with Giannis out and you should beat the Pacers. But with this team, anything is possible. Bottom line, get Jaylen healthy, Kemba going again, and find somebody that can execute a big play down the stretch. I want a deep Celtics postseason run. Can this team overcome this rough stretch and do that? Stay tuned.
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-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)