As Tom Hanks so eloquently once stated, “There’s no crying in baseball!” I will doubly shout, “There’s no complacency in basketball!” Complacency more often than not translates into loss, and you don’t win championships by losing regular season games. Before anyone thinks I’m getting down on the Celtics 10-2 season, or reading too deep into our recent loss to Sacramento, please understand that I am not. I just want to see our guys go out and play Celtics basketball every time they step on the court. Unfortunately, and by coach Steven’s own admission, they have not been so far on this trip out West.
First Quarter Woes
In both Golden State and Sacramento the Celtics had to pull themselves out of double-digit deficits. Clearly we were sloppy on defense and lackadaisical in our offense. Putting on the Green and White uniform means one has respect for the game and all who play it, and when you ease up on teams that you feel are easily beaten it shows the exact opposite of that.
We need our starters to come out and control the pace of each game from the beginning. I love how Kemba often becomes electric in the fourth, but I really want to see that spark start in quarter one. I adore Kemba, and in no way do I feel he doesn’t bring everything out with him. But if he can work his beautiful ball handling magic and provide an early double digit lead, it would set the tone and easier path to victory.
The Celtics are currently 27th in the league for rebounding, and once again found themselves on the losing end in the battle of the boards. One doesn’t have to be an NBA Coach to know that a sure way of giving your team the advantage, it’s being under the rim and grabbing as many rebounds as possible. The Warriors snagged eight more defensive rebounds, and one more offensive board the the Celtics. The Celts ultimately won that game, but they could have decisively won had they fought harder under the rim.
For the elite team the Celtics are, they have allowed themselves to lose possession of the ball way too many times lately. Both at Golden State and Sacramento they turned the ball over 14 times, and payed for it. Those turnovers turned into 15 fast break points for the Kings. Had the Celtics not made sloppy passes and kept a hold of the dribble, we would all be celebrating a new NBA record today.
I do blame some of these woes on rotations being left on the court too long, but I’m sure Brad has his reasons. One could assume he’s still trying to figure out the best combination of guys while they wait for Hayward to return. The Cs did a great job in getting 23 fast break points on Friday against the Warriors, but only scored eight in Sacramento. Keeping possessions and taking them away is what they need to do moving forward.
The Woes Stop Here
Over all, I don’t see these words as a foretelling of how the Celtics are going to play moving forward. If anything, it’s probably given the guys a wake-up call and refueled the fire in them as they continue the West Coast tour. I’m fully expecting Kemba, Jayson and Jaylen to bring their A-games right out of the gate, and cause the Suns to go down in Phoenix. Equally, I expect Marcus to be Marcus and push himself even harder as he guards whoever is in front of him. That includes making winning plays and anticipating the opponent’s next move. I anxiously await the return of Hayward, and watch him diminish the list of Woes. I will continue to offer my love and support to this team and as always #bleedgreen.