Community Shootaround: Celtics’ Season

There’s no joy in TD Garden.

So says Celtics forward Marcus Morris, who lamented the bad vibes around the team after it blew a 28-point lead to the visiting Clippers on Saturday.

The weight of expectations, along with individual agendas, has turned the season into a slog for the preseason Eastern Conference favorites.

“It’s about the attitude that we’re playing with. Guys are hanging their head,” Morris said. “It’s just not fun, it’s not fun. We’re not competing at a high level. Even when we’re winning it’s still not fun. I just don’t see the joy in the game. I watch all these other teams in the league, guys up on the bench, up on the court; they’re doing stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammate’s success, they’re enjoying everything and they’re playing together. And when I look at us, I just see a bunch of individuals.”

With LeBron James in the Western Conference, the Celtics seemed poised to become the next powerhouse in the East. They possess a nice blend of youth and experience, one of the league’s top guards in Kyrie Irving, a budding star in Jayson Tatum and arguably the conference’s deepest bench.

Instead, the Celtics have proved to be surprisingly vulnerable. Mainly due to struggles on offense, they were a .500 team after 20 games. They reeled off eight consecutive wins, then went 7-8 over their next 15 games before winning 10 of 11.

Just when things looked rosy, home losses to the two Los Angeles teams last week led to more uneasiness and prompted Morris to sound off.

Returning from the horrific leg injury he suffered during his Boston debut, Gordon Hayward hasn’t been able to recapture the form that made him one of the most coveted free agents on the 2017 market. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have struggled with reduced minutes after playing starring roles in the postseason.

Irving has delivered a career year, according to PER, but questions about his impending free agency casts a pall over the organization. The front office’s well-known desire to acquire Anthony Davis this summer also has to weigh on the minds of some players, not knowing whether they’re part of the long-term plan.

The good news is it’s only February. The Cavaliers often looked disjointed before the All-Star break, then flipped the switch and got hot in the playoffs. But the competition for this year’s Celtics has suddenly gotten stiffer with the powerhouse lineup the Sixers have put together, plus the rise of the offensively-gifted Bucks and the continued excellence of the Raptors.

That leads us to our question of the day: Will the Celtics live up to their preseason billing and make the NBA Finals or are they doomed to fall short of expectations?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

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23 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Celtics’ Season

  1. tatumszn2018

    I mean maybe they channel the 2010 Celtics team that willed themselves to the finals but man this offseason is truly boom or bust. If Kyrie walks and Davis gets dealt elsewhere, Stevens and Ainge need to be on the immediate hotseat. From 2013 till now Both the Patriots and Red Sox have captured world championships. Celtics not being in between is unacceptable.

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    • jdodge22

      That’s a little overboard buddy. We in new England are very spoiled so to think because they haven’t won a championship lately means they’re a failure is just wrong. As long as they’re competitive and have a shot I think should mean success. Im embarrassed when I read and hear all these negative comments about all of our teams. The Celtics have a very talented and deep team. They just need to gel more and stop sounding off to the media after a couple losses

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      • tatumszn2018

        You’re right. If they go home early theres the draft with “the war chest of picks” and if they strike out in free agency theres summer of 2020. Feel like that’s the mindset past few years.

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  2. x%sure

    –Can’t assume Boston has the upperhand over Philly anymore, since the Sixers have changed so much, prob for the better.
    –Irving can still take Lowry. It’s up to Leonard.
    –The refs have been tougher on Giannis lately, unlike earlier in the season, so that should help prep him for the playoffs.
    –Indy has not adequately replaced Dipo.
    –All in all, still not believing in the Celts.

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    • Nebraska Tim

      Do you think the Celtics can get out of the first round?

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      • x%sure

        Ha. Miami, Charlotte, prob Indy, DET/WAS/ORL. A spirited team could beat them, but except for Orlando, those are not really that. So, I’ll say 86% chance. Irving can control games in the playoffs, and they did respond as a team last year, so they’re not dead yet.

        And I think they will still beat Philly, so a path to the EC finals is possible, assuming Tatum gives a darn. Philly’s changes do not address Simmons/TJ/Redick getting handled by Irving/Smart.

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  3. Reflect

    I love Kyrie but when I think about what changed, he’s the only variable.

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    • TheTruth12

      What are you talking about? Completely ignoring Hayward, who’s averaging 11 ppg worst since his rookie season. Kyrie is arguably having a better season than last year. This team looked way better without Hayward

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    • Curtisrowe

      They had a better record with Kyrie last year than without him. Most people on these boards don’t seem to even watch basketball.

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      • Reflect

        Sorry I meant in terms of chemistry and culture. Obviously he’s a great player. Just trying to figure out why no one on the team seems comfortable or happy.

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  4. Ptn18

    Philadelphia needed 3 point shooting the most and got maybe the best stretch 4 in the league. As long as Butler controls his attitude, he’s top 20. Embiid healthy is a top 2 center. Reddick is getting better as he gets older. If Simmons ever gets a shot, he’s going to be tough to guard. Philly has the most talent in the east now.

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    • Nebraska Tim

      Did you watch them get handled by the Raptors in Philly last week? The final score was generous to how badly they were outplayed.

      And that was before Toronto added Gasol.

      I like Philly, and I think they’re clearly better than the Celtics, but they’ve got a ways to go to catch the Bucks and the Raptors.

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      • cesc

        That was before Tobias so… right now Philly is way better than Toronto, Milwaukee they have been better than Toronto all year long.

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        • Nebraska Tim

          So adding Tobias has a team make a huuuuge jump, while adding Gasol means little? I like the move for the 76ers, but they’re still a very overhyped and overrated team.

          We agree that the Bucks are the team to beat, but I think the 76ers are more like the Celtics than the two beasts of the East.

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        • bigguccisosa300

          I would put everything I own on Toronto beating Philly in a 7 game series

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          • Nebraska Tim

            ^^^ I’m with bigguccisosa300 on this. Especially since it seems likely that Toronto will have home court advantage.

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            • bigguccisosa300

              I mean like I said in a previous thread … Boston Milwaukee Philly Toronto … 2 of em have to be gone by the end of the second round. Boston and Philly look like the weak links unless Rozier goes nuts again or something

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  5. whodatcoon

    Celtics are in huge trouble. Danny is really good at acquiring assets, but I like what the Sixer have going forward alot more. Sixers, Raptors, and Bucks are better teams than the Celtics right now. This upcoming off-season could ruin them, that Hayward contact looks really bad for a long time and Tatum is the only asset with considerable upside from all those picks. I wouldn’t throw in the towel if I were the C’s, but if the summer breaks badly someone needs to be in a hot seat.

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  6. Guest617

    you can’t ignore the elephant in the room. it’s no secret there’s a major trade in the works, half of their roster’s about to get flipped. the elephants twin could be gordon haywards in ability to make wide-open shots. do they add anyone for the playoffs?

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  7. Wally-the-green-monster

    8 days since the last Boston championship…end the drought!!!

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  8. cesc

    Problem is that bench is very good for the RS were the Celts are as good as they can be, but come playoff time is all about star power, bench doesn’t win games when it comes to crunch time, Philly right now has more star power than any team in the league together with GSW, Bucks have got the best ECF player in Giannis & Toronto has got Kawhi, Boston Kyrie, so I think right now Philly & Bucks are the top 2 in the ECF, with Philly just edging past to the Finals, which should be great match ups JJ/Curry, Butler/Klay, Harris/KD, Simmons/Dray & Embiid/DMC… with Philly winning 3 of them, could be the best Finals in years!

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    • Nebraska Tim

      I still see Philly as a second-tier team in the east. Especially since they routinely get handled by good teams.

      Tier 1:
      Milwaukee
      Toronto

      Tier 2:
      Philly

      Tier 3:
      Indiana
      maybe Boston?

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  9. Nebraska Tim

    Last year’s team was good, but this team just isn’t. They do well against bad teams, but they struggle against the better teams in the league.

    Plus, the East has gotten much, much better – even without LeBron.

    The Celtics will be fortunate to win a single playoff series. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make it out of the first round.

    Brad Stevens is a good coach, but he’s not the mastermind wizard he’s often made out to be.

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