The Boston Celtics have been a bit of a mess this season, and it can be attributed to any number of causes.
Although they are loaded with talent, the Celtics have struggled to be efficient on offense while displaying breakdowns on defense. They start many games slow and spend the rest of the contest trying to dig themselves out of a hole, while other nights they have trouble closing games out. And though Boston is fifth in the Eastern Conference at 9-7, it is far below expectations.
The Celtics’ most recent loss was an ugly showing against the Utah Jazz that resulted in a 98-86 defeat. After the game, former Celtic Jae Crowder, now with Utah, told The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett what he thinks has gone wrong.
“Obviously they have a lot of offensive players that can really score the ball. But you have to have guys that do their dirty work. Marcus (Smart) can’t do it all by himself,” Crowder said. “You’ve all got to buy into it, I feel like. And that’s one of the problems they’re going through right now.”
The Jazz forward — who made his comments shortly after C’s head coach Brad Stevens called out his team for a lack of toughness — then expounded on why the lack of toughness may be plaguing Boston.
“When you’ve got so many guys that can score the ball, you really don’t want to get down and defend,” Crowder said. “You really don’t want to get down and dive for balls. You really don’t want to fight through screens every play.
“But championship teams do that. Look at the (Golden State) Warriors. They have guys that can do that. They have guys that want to do that. They understand their roles, and they do it at a high level.”
It’s clear that something has to give for the Celtics, and at this moment, it seems apparent the coaching staff and opponents think toughness is at least one of those things.