By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Following an embarrassing loss in which the Celtics blew a 28-point lead, Marcus Morris painted a pretty bleak picture for Boston’s basketball team.
The veteran forward ranted about the team’s attitude, saying that even when the team is winning, they’re not having much fun. When he sees everyone together, they’re together as individuals and not as a team.
That’s not what you want to hear about a team that was supposed to run away with the Eastern Conference, not 56 games into the season. But the “individual” part certainly rings true, and is hammered home in yet another report about locker room issues surrounding the team. According to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Celtics players aren’t fighting, but “they aren’t that close.” They are trying to “coexist politely, and it’s not working.”
Yeeeesh. Sounds like Brad Stevens has his work cut out for him over the final 26 games of the regular season.
But this is essentially what the Celtics have been all season. They struggled to a 10-10 start before Stevens finally reshuffled his starting lineup, inserting Morris and Marcus Smart for the struggling/injured Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward. That move sparked some better play, but whenever the C’s appeared to take a step forward, they’d quickly take two steps back. For as good as they’ve played individually, they’ve been a mess as a team.
While they’ve been a far cry from the team that many expected to easily win the Eastern Conference over the summer, the Celtics have played some pretty good basketball as of late. Before dropping back-to-back games to the Lakers and Clippers, Boston had won 10 of 11 and climbed into the three-seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re still playing some solid defense and are third in the NBA in point differential behind just Milwaukee and Golden State. They’ve shown glimpses that they could be that pre-season powerhouse, but keep getting in their own way. Now they’re running out of time to figure it all out, with just 26 games remaining in the regular season. At the moment, the Celtics would not host a single playoff series if the postseason started today.
The Celtics will look to get back on the right track Tuesday night in a huge Atlantic Division matchup with the 76ers in Philadelphia. They currently trail Philadelphia by a game in the Eastern Conference standings.