When Boston ran off a recent eight-game win streak there was a sense that the team had finally turned things around, players had accepted their roles and a pecking order had emerged with Kyrie Irving at the top.
But those wins came against a soft stretch of the schedule. Boston has since dropped three in a row, capped by a loss at home to Milwaukee Friday night — the start of a run of games for the Celtics against quality teams (including the Sixers on Christmas Day).
The latest loss triggered a 30-minute, closed-door team meeting after the game reports A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
“Much needed; much needed you know,” Irving said of the meeting. “I think everyone can see that we’ve had some inconsistencies regarding our play. I think it was the time to address it.”
Jaylen Brown described the meeting as the players, “trying to get on the same page.”
Brown would later add, “we have to talk and (tonight) was the time we choose to talk. I will keep … what we talked about between us, but we have to do better.”
Irving would later say the team needs to trust each other more and avoid selfish play, a seemingly veiled reference to guys not playing within the system on offense.
That has been a concern all season. Boston has players — Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, among others — who had much larger roles during last season’s playoff run but then were asked to sacrifice with the return of Irving and Gordon Hayward. Also, the Celtics have players in the final year of their contracts — Terry Rozier (restricted free agent), Marcus Morris — playing for their next paychecks. Asking all those guys to put the team first, to find that balance, has not gone smoothly.
Team meetings tend to be overrated for solving problems, but the Celtics needed to hash things out. Maybe the Celtics look more unified against Charlotte on Sunday. After that comes the real test: the Sixers on Christmas Day, followed by a three-game road trip to Houston, Memphis, and San Antonio. After that, we will have a better sense of if the Celtics’ closed-door meeting had any impact.