Dwyane Wade believes the Boston Celtics lack something a team needs in order to be a true NBA Finals contender.
After double-digit wins over the Houston Rockets and the Charlotte Hornets, the Celtics came back down to Earth on Tuesday when they fell to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers. This game, of course, wasn’t the first time this season in which Boston looked outmatched when going up against one of the better teams in the league.
Given the C’s were two wins away from reaching the Finals back in the fall, it’s been tough to pinpoint what exactly is the biggest problem with this season’s team. Perhaps it’s a lack of an identity, a flaw Wade pointed out during TNT’s postgame coverage of 76ers-Celtics.
“What is the Boston Celtics’ identity?” Wade asked, as transcribed by WEEI. “It’s not defensively. They’re not great in transition. They’re not exceptionally great in half-court when it comes to execution of the game even though they have an amazing coach and amazing players. You’ve got to have an identity as a team and what are you going to lean your head on when things get tough, when guys do miss games, when injuries do happen. And this team does not have one. They are talented, but they don’t have that identity.”
Wade wasn’t the only former player to send criticism Boston’s way after its latest defeat. Ex-Celtic Kendrick Perkins took aim at Jayson Tatum, specifically, claiming the two-time All-Star’s body language and energy level are hurting the team. Perkins believes Tatum will need to step up if Boston is going to make anything of this season.
The Celtics will try to get back in the win column Wednesday when it hosts the New York Knicks, who currently are one spot ahead of Boston in the East standings by virtue of tiebreaker.