Danny Ainge Putting Celtics’ Struggles ‘On Players’ Shoulders Right Now’

'I think they need to look internally and they need to want it more'

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If the Boston Celtics knew exactly what kept going wrong for them this season, they’d probably be the first to tell us.

Instead, weeks keep passing with the same questions going unanswered, leaving players and personnel alike at a loss for words about their recent struggles — especially now that the NBA trade deadline has come and gone.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has taken the blame for their roster construction already this season, but many expected the trades he made to shake things up and provide a bit of a spark. To this point, they haven’t.

It could be argued that the new faces just added to the adversity, at least in terms of cohesiveness. During his weekly radio interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday, Ainge noted he doesn’t know what this team looks like with everyone available, given all they’ve faced with injuries and COVID-19 protocols.

“Having said that, you know like effort should be the one thing that is consistent,” Ainge said, trying not to make excuses and defend coach Brad Stevens.

“I think that I’m putting it on my players’ shoulders right now. I think they need to look internally, and they need to want it more, and they need to be able to fight through adversity better. That’s all I’m saying. I know Brad (Stevens) fights through adversity. I know he’s preparing for the game, and he’s respecting every opponent that he sees. I don’t have any doubt about that. But I’m worried about some nights, the way we come out to play, with somehow we’re better than our opponents and therefore we don’t have to give the maximum effort. And then I see sometimes like last night, I thought we were ready to play, but adversity hit, and we didn’t respond.”

Morale doesn’t seem very high right now, but there’s a tiny bit of time for the Celtics to get healthy and turn things around.

That all starts Friday evening as Boston hosts the Rockets at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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