The Celtics currently sit at .519 on the season 26 games in. Following two ugly losses to the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, the Celtics dropped to 3-7 in their last 10 games, but they bounced back last night against the Nuggets. In the two former games, the Celtics set season-low assists numbers, with just 15 against the Pistons and 14 against the Wizards. Boston currently sits at the fourth seed in the East with a 14-13 record, but it is no secret that the Celtics will need to play better if they want to hold on to a top seed. What exactly do the Celtics need to do better?
The Celtics bench averages just 32.4 points per game, which ranks 28th overall. For those that don’t know, there are 30 teams in the NBA. Now I’m no math guy, but 28th out of 30 is not good! Bench scoring has been a problem for the Celtics for a couple of seasons now. This was something I thought Jeff Teague would help tremendously with, man was I was wrong! In 22 games this season, Teague is averaging just 5.8 points per game and shooting a career-low 32.8 percent from the field. The reason I bring up Teague is that the Celtics have a very young bench. Especially with the injury to Marcus Smart, the Celtics need a veteran that can score of the bench. The Celtics have had to rely heavily upon rookie Payton Pritchard to provide the bench scoring. I do think when Marcus Smart returns from injury it will help the Celtics bench scoring woes, but I would like to see Danny Ainge make a move for a veteran scorer before the trade deadline.
In basketball, most of the time moving the ball leads to an open man and easy bucket, something the Celtics should be drooling over. Outside of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Payton Pritchard, none of the scorers are really shooting well from the field. A good way to fix that would be ball movement! As I previously stated, the Celtics set season-low assists numbers last weekend. The Celtics need to move the basketball and help their shooters find a rhythm. It appears Kemba Walker is starting to find his rhythm after a slow start coming off injury. In the past, the Celtics have done a great job moving the ball, something they are going to have to get back to doing.
I get it, this has been a frustrating stretch for the Celtics. But I don’t think it is time to panic. Teams battle adversity each year and that is what Kemba Walker seems to think this stretch is saying “Teams go through adversity every single year at some point in the season, and it’s all about how you overcome it. The only way you can overcome adversity is by doing it as a whole, doing it together. And that we will do”.
There are still 46 games remaining in the season and the Celtics are just 4 games out of first place in the East. The Celtics will need to play better if they want to remain in the thick of things in the East but again, it is not time to panic. Keep in mind the trade deadline is looming and I would not be surprised if Danny Ainge is aggressive.