The roller coaster of a season that has been the Boston Celtics’ ride has hit a dip recently. They have lost three in a row out of the All-Star break: A close game to Milwaukee, one to lowly Chicago, and Tuesday they were blown out by Toronto. The defense that has been the cornerstone of what the Celtics do has failed them — in their last 10 games the Celtics have a bottom 10 defense in the NBA.
It’s led to a lot of soul searching… at least in most corners of the Celtics locker room. After the Toronto loss, Marcus Smart lamented that 61 games into the season the Celtics are just not on the same page as a team.
“Not being together. And that’s it. We’re just not together. Plain and simple. That’s it. Because, if we were together that wouldn’t happen. We’re all talking and linking up but, like I said, it’s something we’re going through and it’s something we’re going to have to continue to work at and figure it out. I’m really sure that we will. I just don’t know when. But I’m sure we’re going to figure it out. Just right now it’s going slower than we expected.”
That follows the “too many mouths to feed” conventional wisdom of what has Boston as the five seed in the East.
“That’s Marcus’ opinion,” said Irving. “I respect it.”
A follow-up wondered if Irving shared that opinion. After a few beats of silence, a Celtics public relations staffer ended the press conference by shouting, “Thank you, Kyrie.”
Irving seems to think this is a regular-season thing, something the Celtics will be able to get past once they focus in during the playoffs.
That makes sense if the team in question has a foundation of good habits built up from this and previous seasons. The Golden State Warriors can slump right now and the NBA world will shrug because we know they can flip a switch.
Can Boston? Do they have that reserve of good habits? They made a playoff run last season, but that was with a different roster in crucial ways.
Boston has the pieces to put together a run to the NBA Finals and come out of the East. If they are anywhere near ready to do that is the real question, and one that may not be answered until April and May.