You would think the Boston Celtics have found their sense of urgency by now.
The Celtics have lost 14 of their last 21 games. They now are two games below .500 with a third-straight loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge called out the team for not being a championship contender last week, and owner Wyc Grousbeck doubled down on that notion before Wednesday’s tip.
How do the Celtics follow that up?
They allow Danilo Gallinari to hit each of his first seven 3-point attempts while the Hawks put up 40 first-quarter points and 72 (!!) in the first half. The Hawks, who are four games below .500 themselves, took a 27-point lead in just 22 minutes.
The Celtics’ lack of urgency, game after game and more accurately loss after loss, is absolutely unfathomable.
“I think we, I don’t know,” Jaylen Brown literally told reporters Wednesday when asked why Boston didn’t come out with energy.
“It’s a good question.”
Yeah, it is. Just one the Celtics, and Brown in this case, didn’t have the answer to.
“But give credit to the Hawks,” Brown continued. “It felt like they couldnât miss today. They made a lot of tough shots, not all of those were uncontested and stuff like that, but I don’t know.”
Maybe not all of them were uncontested, but allowing Gallinari (38) and Trae Young (33) to each score 30-plus? Especially after the Celtics had allowed Young to score 30-plus in each of the previous two games they played?
Is there literally no pride that makes you want to get a stop?
“Today was about pride,” Jayson Tatum told reporters after going 4-for-20 from the field. “Especially when the game kind of got away from us early. There wasn’t much to draw up, or Xâs and Oâs. It was more so about taking the challenge, having some pride about what we’re doing out there on the court. Yeahâ¦”
It didn’t seem like it.
Well, with the starters in the game the Celtics did cut their deficit to merely 18 points. They had a chance to make it 15 in the third quarter but Jeff Teague did another Jeff Teague thing, and next thing you know, the Hawks are back up 20.
…And then Boston is right back to facing a 27-point deficit.
Again, we’re not talking about the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Clippers. Hell, we’re not even talking about the Portland Trail Blazers or Milwaukee Bucks. We’re talking about the 14-18 Hawks.
And that’s after consecutive losses to the 14-17 New Orleans Pelicans (after having a 24-point lead) and the 15-15 Dallas Mavericks. Both of those teams, like the Hawks, are not even in the NBA Playoff picture. Good teams find a way to bury below .500 teams. The Celtics found a way to let those teams bury them below .500.
âI think we have to take accountability, I have to take accountability as one of the leaders and being that guy,” Tatum said. “You know, I have to be better. I have to be more vocal. I have to kind of be the example especially knowing that we just lost two tough games, playing a back-to-back.
“I take a lot of accountability just for the way we played today, and I guess we’ve been playing. We got four games until the (All-Star) break, four very important games because I think the time is now. We don’t have much time, we don’t have any time to relax. We got to dig deep and we got to figure it out.”
Yeah, that would be nice. But based on the last few weeks, we’re not exactly beaming with confidence.