Boston Celtics: It may be time to hit the panic button

NBA Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics are in trouble. 

It’s time to hit the panic button in Boston as the Celtics have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. This isn’t an ideal time to be losing during this crucial push for the playoffs as the Celtics could very well find themselves fighting to qualify for the postseason if they can’t right the ship.

For such a talented roster, a record below .500 is unacceptable, especially with two All-Stars who both average over 25 points with both shooting over 45 percent from the field. The Celtics’ recent downfall can be attributed to their inability to close out games as they appear to be relying on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown too much in isolation instead of moving the ball.

The lack of ball movement and cohesiveness as a team has made their offense predictable and Brad Stevens will have to make the necessary adjustments in order for the Celtics to secure wins especially late in games.

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As a result, the Celtics rank 24th in the league in assists per game (22.9) and desperately need someone to step up and become a scoring threat besides Tatum and Brown. Kemba Walker is capable of being that player, but Stevens must tweak the offensive scheme in order for him to be effective.

Walker is a playmaking guard who can get the ball where it needs to go but the offense will have to run more fluidly and become unpredictable. Recent acquisition Evan Fournier can also score but there is little time for him to get acclimated and comfortable within the flow of the offense.

In his Celtics debut, he went 0-10 from the field in 32 minutes of action but we all know that Fournier can score points. Injuries have also played a factor as Walker, Marcus Smart, and Tristan Thompson have all missed time.

The Celtics went 3-5 in Smart’s absence as he was apparently missed as the heart and soul of the Celtics defense. There are obvious reasons the Celtics are struggling defensively as they rank 21st in points allowed, 21st in total steals, 20th in 3-point field goals allowed, 18th in blocks, 25th in opposing field goal percentage, 25th in opposing 3-point percentage, and 21st overall in defensive rating.

The Celtics must give a much better effort on that side of the floor if they are to turn their season around and move up in the Eastern Conference standings. They will have to start winning games against teams below .500 and stop taking those teams lightly as they have suffered inexcusable losses to teams like the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Wizards, Kings, Cavaliers, and the Pistons which were all games they should have won.

The Celtics’ lack of depth is also an area of concern. Outside of Tatum, Brown, Walker, and Smart, who can they rely on once those players go to the bench? Center Daniel Theis is more of a role player than a starter who can rebound, set screens and protect the rim.

Thompson plays a role similar to Theis but just a better rebounder. He also has to go to the bench if Stevens decides he needs to space the floor due to Thompson’s lack of shooting ability. Rookie Payton Pritchard has been amazing so far but lack of experience in the postseason is a reason for concern for any player.

Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, and Robert Williams are all good reserves but can’t be depended on to carry the team during crunch time. The Celtics have enough talent to get to the postseason as a lower-seeded team but a potential first-round matchup against the Nets, 76ers, or the Bucks could be too overwhelming for them to overcome unless they fix their current problems.

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But you just can’t count these Celtics out just yet because lucky for them, they have time on their side and a chance to improve and get it right. And just maybe they can begin playing like the contenders we know they are capable of being.