Before the season started, the Boston Celtics were one of the biggest contenders for reaching the title in this NBA campaign. And they still are, but some of the pundits already started to question their abilities.
Those individuals were especially loud after the game in Colorado when Nuggets defeated the most successful franchise in the NBA history, 115-107. It was their second loss in a row, fourth since the opening night. The frustration was obvious among the Celts, and Kyrie Irving’s ball-throwing to the stands was just the climax.
But for Gordon Hayward, there is no place for any doubts, and the Celtics small forwards thinks that there is plenty of room for improvement.
“I think we have a lot of room to grow,” Hayward said when one of the reporters asked him how he sees the current situation. “I think for me individually, as well as for the team, there’s a lot of ways in which we can get better. I think there’s been flashes where we play really, really well, and the same for me individually. But then there’s times where I’m not doing what I’m used to doing, and we have lulls as a team.”
Problems With Offense
The Celtics offense isn’t very good this season, and this might be the key reason why are they only third in the East, with four wins behind the Raptors, and two behind Milwaukee. When you hear these figures, it might be a little bit shocking for you.
The Celtics are last in the league in points from the paint. When looking free-throws attempts 29th, and 27th with attempts under the rim. Now, they take too many shots from midrange and are third in three-point attempts behind Houston and Milwaukee, unlike the last year when their versatility in the attack was one of their biggest weapons, Boston is pretty one dimensional now. And not only that, the percentages they produce are low. Their overall FG percentage is 43.0, which is 26th in the NBA.
“I think there’s things we can do within the offense that will be better,” coach Stevens stated, admitting that his team is not performing as should in this aspect of the play.
Also, this condition might be a result of Hayward’s and Irving’s return, because these two guys didn’t play much last season. The chemistry on the court needs to be rebuilt, and for something like that, it takes time. Both of these guys have to get into the rhythm and find their game from a couple of seasons ago.
Brad Stevens is in a tough position here. He has to create rotation in which all the players have their share of the minutes. After exploding last season, it would be a waste to slow down Tatum or Brown or Rozier. On the other side, you have players with heavy contracts who need to play. A tough situation indeed.
Motivation Might be the Key
Some experts and pundits are saying that Boston has problems with motivation. And really, if you look their wins and defeats, you will notice that there is something strange about them. All the losses were recorded against the teams who are way below Celtics when looking the overall quality, and the current placement in the standings. With the exception of Toronto. Meanwhile, they are much better when facing tough opponents. Triumphs against Pistons, twice, Milwaukee, Thunder, and 76ers are backing up this story. Here we have three franchises who are aiming at least the Conference Semifinals.
Boston is currently on tour through West, with three more matches to play, against the Suns, Jazz, and Portland. Before them, they already had two more on the road, against Pacers and Nuggets. Afterward, three of the next four Celts games are in TD Garden, and most of the opponents they face in the upcoming 10 events are going to be teams from the lower part of the standings. So there is plenty of room as Hayward said for Celtics to grow. With such exquisite players in each position, and a coach who will probably become one of the best in the next 10 years, Boston has nothing to fear about.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write, read, and bet on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a betting tips writer at WagerBop.