As soon as in awhile, the writing workers at CelticsWeblog notices a few developments with the crew, whether or not that’s on the ground or their notion on social media or in mainstream protection. Right here are some things that caught our eye in the course of the five-game highway journey out west:
Over the previous few weeks, the Celtics have fared we’ll in opposition to the top-4 groups within the Western Convention. Who scares you probably the most in a possible Finals matchup?
Adam Taylor: This may be a cliche, but it surely needs to be the Lakers. Their mix of scoring and measurement make them arguably the deepest crew within the league. Schroeder was an underrated pickup by them, whereas THT is displaying why groups had been flawed to move on him final 12 months.
They’ve made drop protection extremely trendy, and possess the star energy, and veteran management to shut out tight video games. I do get vibes of the previous Celtics 2008 crew vs. LeBron’s Miami crew although, the place the previous guard is slowly passing the torch to a rising powerhouse.
Sadly, I don’t see that torch being handed this 12 months, because the Celtics bench is just too erratic, and stars comparable to Kemba Walker are misfiring. Add these struggles to their lackluster 4th quarter protection, and I wouldn’t really feel assured dealing with the Lakers in a possible Finals matchup.
Oh, I didn’t even point out the LeBron/AD pick-and-roll.
Are Boston’s defensive points simply dumb psychological errors that they’ll clear up or can they solely be solved by Sensible, Langford, and/or a doable commerce?
Bobby Manning: Let’s begin with the within and work out. The Celtics began the night time with the third-worst opponent taking pictures share on the rim (~64%). A robust basis is vital defensively, even in a league the place stopping the three has gained equal precedence and the C’s have excelled (ranked eighth in three-point% protection earlier than tonight).
There aren’t lengthy wings in all places like final 12 months to help Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson, who don’t have wonderful rim-protecting verticality. In additional instances, the two-big lineups get stretched, and assist doesn’t arrive to the center on time.
Just lately, the personnel hasn’t been there for three-guard lineups with out Marcus Sensible, no less than any that will be a plus defensively. Accidents and personnel are a place to begin for blame.
Brad Stevens has talked about Boston’s lack of rim safety, together with wings in that dialogue, whereas balancing getting minutes for Robert Williams, who might feasibly assist there. Boston can’t play three bigs, although they’ve tried, with out leaning into zone, which the Celtics haven’t performed sufficient of to be nice at.
Via all of it, they’re nonetheless above the league common defensively. It simply doesn’t look good, or in keeping with the C’s top-10 commonplace. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown mentioned they’re disconnected. From afar, they give the impression of being disjointed, awkward and uncomfortable as a defensive unit.
I hold asking the query: Is that this who they need to be? Larger, slower and fewer versatile in their very own finish. Who knew this crew would miss what Gordon Hayward introduced defensively greater than anything.
The Celtics limped by means of their five-game west coast highway journey. With out Marcus Sensible, two video games with out Jaylen Brown, and a sport with out Kemba Walker, they managed to place collectively a 2-3 report in opposition to 5 Western Convention playoff groups. All issues thought-about, has it been a profitable February up to now?
Greg Brueck-Cassoli: It’s laborious to name any stretch of video games that features extra losses than wins a hit, but it surely actually hasn’t been a catastrophe. Apart from their most up-to-date loss to the Utah Jazz, Boston was aggressive in each sport they misplaced. The Celtics don’t have the depth to cowl up the quantity of accidents they’ve sustained in opposition to the league’s finest, and for probably the most half that’s precisely who they’ve performed. In addition they managed to take down the Clippers and Warriors, regardless of the challenges of being on the highway and the rash of accidents they’re coping with.
Failing to remain above .500 is rarely cause for celebration, however the sky is way from falling in Boston. If the Celtics can get wholesome and Kemba Walker returns to one thing approximating his former self then early-February will simply seem like a small blip on the trail to turning into a crew no one needs to see within the postseason. I’m betting that’s the most definitely end result.
Boston’s protection out west bloated to a 118.1 defensive score. A lot of that was as a result of absence of Marcus Sensible who’s nursing a strained calf, however might you argue that lacking him damage the offense simply as a lot?
Jeremy Stevens: The Sensible damage is one chunk of a better situation. The Celtics’ high 4 gamers have performed a grand complete of 28 minutes collectively this season. The 76ers’ top-4 has 322 minutes collectively. Sensible being statistically impartial on offense really places him above most of his teammates, and if nothing else, Boston might use stability from their finest distributor. Sensible has 103 assists to 30 turnovers, which is a reasonably improbable fee.