The Boston Celtics are struggling more than expected this season, but you probably already knew that.
The team’s struggles were exemplified during this weekend’s slate of games.
First, the C’s saw their 25-point first-half lead slip away in Friday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. Luckily, they still pulled out a 121-109 win.
But Sunday’s game against the Pelicans was different.
Boston opened up a 24-point lead in the third quarter, but New Orleans erased that by midway through the fourth. The C’s eventually lost in overtime and fell to 15-15 on the season.
After the game, head coach Brad Stevens and several players were highly critical of the team’s inability to finish games this season. But there’s still plenty of time to change that.
As Stevens noted in Monday’s video press conference, this team is no fan of losing. But he knows just how important a healthy turnaround can be and thinks the team is perfectly capable of achieving that.
“I think we have a very competitive group,” Stevens said. “I think we have a group that’ll only get better, but we also have a competitive group. You know, I go back to, like, our best players have gotten the chance to experience things that a lot of guys — especially the young guys Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum)’s age and other guys their age — haven’t gotten a chance to experience. So, like anything else, we want that all the time.
“And so, a string of losses, tough losses, (and) what we’ve gone through, it’s hard to swallow. And that’s why it’s so important to be able to move on to the next day, the next play. Learn. Improve. Get better and do all that we can to help each other have success. Certainly, that’s not just by any means on them or the guys that are playing in the four. I think that’s everybody in the organization, and certainly me and my staff in helping as much as we possibly can.”
Players have been considerably upset during their postgame video press conferences, and rightfully so. But once the team gathers after games like this, Stevens said the group is really “down to earth” in addressing the issues at hand, and it has been helpful.
Kemba Walker is the perfect example of this.
“When times get tough, I’m not the type to put my head down and be frustrated over it,” Kemba Walker told reporters Monday, via the team. “Just got to continue to work hard, and my time will come.
“… Teams go through hard times,” he added, via Forbes’ Chris Grenham. “Right now, we’re just going through a bit of adversity, but it’s all about how you get out of it. … We’ll hit our stride.”
The C’s can start turning things around Tuesday against the 13-15 Dallas Mavericks. Luka Dončić and Co. should be a nice challenge for Boston following this weekend’s debacle.
Whether the Celtics succeed in bouncing back, however, likely won’t be determined by just one game.