No one can pinpoint exactly why the Boston Celtics have struggled so much to this point, but impossible to ignore is the fact that they’ve perpetually been shorthanded all season.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’t quite use that as an excuse Thursday in his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub. But it might have a lot to do with the Celtics’ lack of consistency.
Ahead of Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets, the team’s injury report read that Robert Williams will be available after missing Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. And Romeo Langford is cleared to make his season debut. However, regular contributors Tristan Thompson and Semi Ojeleye are listed as out.
One day this team will have a clean injury report. Ainge really is looking forward to when that day comes.
“I know that this team can play well together, and I really am looking for our whole team to get together once and for all,” Ainge said in the interview. “I thought we were getting closer (Wednesday) night and then we lose our best defensive player, maybe our second best defensive player anyway in Rob. And that hurt us last night.”
Wednesday’s loss to Dallas was typical in that Boston let itself get into a deep hole that it almost worked its way out of. As it’s gone most of the year, though, the Celtics couldn’t capitalize on their comeback.
“It’s just the continuity. There is no continuity,” Ainge commented. “There’s different players at each position it feels like every night. The night before we’re missing Jaylen Brown. I just think that that is difficult to sustain, and I see it all around the league where teams struggle except the teams that have even more talent than us, that have more margin for error in victories. We don’t have so much talent that we have a huge margin for error where we can play 60% and win.”
It’s a fair point. Because in addition to pesky injuries all year, the Celtics collectively have spent more time in the NBA’s health and safety protocols than any other team. And obviously, this team is quite top heavy in talent. The work load those players have been taking on aren’t insignificant.
But at the end of the day, most teams are dealing with similar adversity. It’s up to whoever is available to show some resolve.