By Tom Westerholm | email@example.com | Posted November 14, 2018 at 06:00 AM
David Zalubowski/AP Photo
Ask any number of Boston Celtics players, coaches, staffers, fans and media members what’s going on with the team, and you will get a wide variety of different answers. Where everyone can seemingly agree: Something is going on, and they aren’t playing to the level their talent would seemingly allow.
So let’s try to break down what’s going on, with the help of a bunch of quotes, anecdotes and observations gathered from Boston’s disastrous 1-4 road trip out West.
1. Brad Stevens blames the coaching.
“You find your flow by making the next right play and playing hard, that’s it,” Stevens said. “When you’re in the game, you have a job to do on that possession, and you do it. Then if you do it really well over and over again, you have a good team. We’re not there yet, and well-coached teams get there. We’re not a well-coached team right now. That’s pretty obvious.”
Sure thing, Brad. (Even Jayson Tatum, when asked, said there’s only so much Stevens can do from the sidelines).
2. The coaching explanation would make more sense if there weren’t clear indicators the offense is on the verge of an uptick.
Put simply: Open shots aren’t falling for Boston. Entering Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Celtics were first in the NBA in open shots (closest defender within 4-6 feet) attempted, averaging 28.8 per game. They were also 28th in field-goal percentage on open shots, per the NBA’s stat site.
When you expand that to wide open (closest defender more than six feet away), Boston is second in attempts and 14th in percentage. That’s a better number, but still a problem — combine the totals for open and wide open, and the Celtics have still generated the most looks while their field-goal percentage is 25th.
3. Kyrie Irving blames a whole bunch of things, which he packed into a lengthy answer after Sunday’s loss to Portland.
The cliff notes:
– The Celtics need to be tougher.
– The Celtics lack discipline.
– The lulls are killer.
– The empty possessions are killers.
– “It’s all about attitude and effort.”
– The Celtics … might need an older vet?
4. For what it’s worth, Irving’s comment about needing a 14- or 15-year vet sounded more like he was riffing and throwing things at the wall, rather than actually requesting the Celtics make an acquisition.
Judge for yourself.