Yes, the Boston Celtics mounted a valiant effort against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Friday. They fell short, losing 111-107. They are now below .500 at 14-15, one year after finishing the season 36-36. Wins aren’t piling up in Boston like they used to — unless you’re counting the moral victories.
The Boston Celtics are having a tough time figuring things out
Simply put, the Celtics are underachievers. They were all last year, and they remain that way this year. With two young All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the team needs to show it’s better than mediocre. Maybe the Celtics just aren’t what people think they are.
The Celtics underwent a significant shakeup this offseason. Gone is Danny Ainge, the front office’s main man the previous 18 seasons. Gone is Brad Stevens, who left his coaching position to fill Ainge’s role. Boston brought in Ime Udoka, who previously had no head-coaching experience, to replace Stevens.
On the court, veteran point guard Kemba Walker was shipped out. Al Horford and Enes Kanter (Freedom) came back for their second stints with the team. Despite the drastic changes, they remain the same old Celtics.
They’ve been accused of not always giving their best effort. Marcus Smart called out Tatum and Brown for being selfish. It’s been an ugly start to the season with no real sign of a turnaround in sight.
The Boston Celtics hit a new low by bragging of a moral victory
The Celtics were slight underdogs at home to the Warriors on Friday. They were short-handed with Horford, Grant Williams, Jabari Parker, Sam Hauser, and Juancho Hernangomez in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. The Warriors were also missing a key piece to their starting five with Jordan Poole also in the protocols.
Curry was in town one game after breaking the NBA’s all-time record for most 3-pointers in his career. He put up 30 points, adding five more 3-pointers to his total, as the Warriors moved to a league-best record of 24-5 with the four-point win.
Curry had 16 in the opening quarter, and the Warriors held a 20-point lead in the second quarter before the Celtics mounted a frantic second-half surge.
“Loved the fight and effort overall,” Udoka said after the game, per NBA.com. “Short-handed or not, we got capable guys out there and we felt we defended at the proper level in the second half – a 43 point half with a 14 point third quarter. That’s big-time defense, but we need to bring that from the get-go.”
Udoka praising the effort isn’t a problem. He is correct in saying the team needs an effort for 48 minutes. Where the Celtics hit their embarrassing new low was on the team’s official Twitter account. It’s was something a youth basketball coach might say to his 10-year-olds.
“We took the top team in the league down to the wire Friday night and established some positive momentum in the second half, which we hope to carry into the second game of our back-to-back against the Knicks,” the Celtics wrote.
Have the Celtics really stooped to this level?
The Celtics being 14-15 is embarrassing enough. Bragging that you almost won is much worse.
In Boston, Patriots fans constantly mock the Indianapolis Colts for hanging a “2014 AFC Finals” banner from the rafters after getting pummeled by New England 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game in January 2015. Although the stakes aren’t quite as high, the Celtics pretty much pulled a page out of the Colts’ book Friday night.
No banner was hung, but the message was the same: We lost, but we tried our best against a great team.
The Celtics have a lot of work to do. They need to become more consistent. They constantly find themselves down by 15-20 points and are forced to claw their way back.
Boston also needs to make a move. Whether it’s adding another minor piece or making another shakeup, something needs to be done. This team, as currently constructed, is going nowhere.
They also need to cut down on that rah-rah, look-how-close-we-came attitude. Maybe the players didn’t say it, but the Celtics did — just check their Twitter account.