Ah, here we sit at 40-19. A lot of teams would consider 40-19 at the break to be outstanding. But don’t be fooled. The Celtics are not like other teams, and let me tell you, that 40-19 record is not nearly as good as it sounds. This team really stinks right now and I, for one, am upset about it. What am I supposed to do? Turn on the TV and watch my team lose? Give me a break. I don’t even know what that word means. And if you’re even trying to imply that I do, I will not hesitate to call the authorities.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here. Brad Stevens has got to find a way to fire these guys up if they want to start being good at basketball again. Marcus Smart going down with a cut on his hand was a real stinger (get it? like wounds) but they should not have regressed this much on defense. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Al Horford, Semi Ojeleye, the list goes on and on. They’ve got the guys to play good defense. Why don’t they do it? Well, I think that speaks to how much of a leader Smart is on and off the court. He’s the vocal leader of the team and without him out there to get them amped up, they have no fight. The effort suffers. They commit the worst touch fouls in the history of basketball, they never put a body on anyone under the hoop and they don’t hustle to get back off a miss. Terrible recipe for winning games. This is exactly why they’ve given up more than 120 points in the last two games. Bradley, my man, find a way. Show them a video of a killer whale eating a seal or that snake chasing the baby iguana on the beach that went viral on Twitter a few months ago. Get the boys riled up again. Or just suck until Marcus comes back. Either or.
The C’s have played 59 games before the break, which is more than anyone close to them in the standings. They’re already three games behind the Raptors in the loss column; it is crucial that they avoid another skid to open up the second half of the season. There’s only 23 games left in the year and getting that one seed aka avoiding the Cavs/Raptors in the second round would be ideal. I currently do not have much confidence in facing either of those two teams in the second round, and you shouldn’t either.
I also would like to start a support group for Jayson Tatum’s shooting troubles. He’s been awful as of late after leading the NBA in 3-point percentage for much of the season. Here’s a depressing little stat for you; in the first 37 games this season, Jayson Tatum shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Solid, I know. But in the last 19 games, he’s shot 42 percent from the field and just 30 percent from beyond the arc. It’s just not what you want, but I’ll take a 37-game sample over a 19-game sample. Every rookie gets in a slump at some point, that’s just how it works when you’re trying to adjust to life as an NBA player. However, I will still be starting the support group and we meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. Be there or be square and go Celtics.