A few days ago the NBA resumed its regular season play inside Disney Studios in Florida. The Celtics were defeated by the Bucks 112-119 in the first game back. And while it’s still a regular-season game, coach Brad Stephens has some fixes to make.
The frontcourt is one of the biggest issues for the C’s. This issue has been evident since their first game of the season against the 76ers. Without veteran Al Horford, the Celtics possess a lot of mismatches on defense in the paint. In the East, the C’s will most likely have to go up against guys like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Aaron Gordon, and more.
Luckily, they do have defensive guys like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who can guard forwards. Another player like Marcus Smart doesn’t back down from any assignment on defense. Brad Stephens has willing players to guard up against big guys, but it’ll be harder as the competition grows. Against the Bucks, we saw Giannis dominate in the paint with 36 points and 15 rebounds. Guys like Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter have no shot defending by themselves. Perhaps defensive schemes and double teams will be the answer. Although Theis was able to land a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Another fix might be just due to the lack of playing during the cancellation, but the rotation. Aside from Marcus Smart, there isn’t too much offensive production coming from the bench. Because of that it forces one of the starters to stay on the floor at all times for the most part. This can cause guys to be exhausted and figured it down the stretch. Guys like Tatum who have multiple scoring moves in their arsenal is one of few. But aside from him, Brown isn’t the most offensive-minded player.
Another issue for the Celtics and many other teams is mental toughness. Coming from a long layoff period guys are getting back into the form of playing. Against the Bucks, a focused Giannis and Chris Middleton dominate in the late minutes of the game. As for the Celtics, as expected, some fatigued kicked in.
During the late half of the season and the postseason, the game becomes more physical. There’s less skill plays happening and more so a case of who wants it more. Milwaukee wanted the game more so they won. But Brad Stephens will have to get his guys back in the right mindset for the rest of these games. The mindset this team once had when talks of a championship were in the air.
There’s no need to panic over one loss. Especially if it was to the team with the best record in the league. The Celtics just have a few fixes to make if they want to reach that same level production and chemistry they once were at. And although it’s a players game, Brad Stephens will be the factor of whether he can bring them together as a unit.
Feature Image Via BostonGlobe.com