One of the oldest coach-isms in the book is that consistency is the key to going from good to great.
As much as the Celtics have struggled this season, there have been plenty of moments when they look fantastic. After a slow start, Kyrie Irving has been incredible. Jayson Tatum has moments and games where he looks like the perennial All Star we expect him to become. There are moments when Gordon Hayward reminds us exactly how versatile he is.
The problem is that it isn’t consistent from game to game or even from quarter to quarter. The Celtics have one of the top statistical defenses in the league, but have also been burned by several different playmaking guards having career nights against them.
They looked great against the Pelicans, but the real test is going to be how they look night in and night out.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve played like that,” the coach said, “where it’s been more of — we weren’t perfect for 48 minutes — but it’s been more of a 48-minute performance. But we’re not really looking for snippets here and there. We’re looking more: Can we back it up with continued good play?
On paper this roster has a good mix of veterans and young players. That mix, however, can be difficult to manage because everyone is at a different stage in their careers. Perhaps some of the younger players in particular are struggling with their roles.
“Everybody’s at different stages of where they are as players, but all of these guys and all the guys that were here before are in the NBA for a reason. And everybody we’re playing against is in the NBA for a reason. The difference between being great and good and not so good is just doing it every day. That’s the thing that you learn, and that’s what you respect so much about scorers like Kyrie (Irving). I mean, they get 20 every night. That’s really hard to do against the best players in the world, and I think that’s something everybody has to learn as they go through this.”
The good news is that the Celtics have a pretty soft (knocks on wood) upcoming schedule that should (in theory) give them the opportunity to right the ship and create some positive momentum going forward. Time will tell if this team can get back to being consistently good.