Head coach Brad Stevens has thus far been an excellent choice as successor to the revered Doc Rivers. The Boston Celtics have surpassed almost everyone’s expectations so far this season, having won more games than they had any business doing. However, there is only so much an NBA coach can do without superior talent. The Celtics have now lost their past three games, culminating in a blowout against the vastly superior Indiana Pacers.
The result against the Pacers was expected, and something the Celtics should just move on from, and erase it from their memories. There were only a few Celtics that played well against the second best team in the East, Avery Bradley , as well as occasional bench spark, Courtney Lee. Everyone else struggled mightily, and it just goes to show how far the gap is between pedestrian (at best) team such as the Celtics and truly talented teams, like the Pacers.
In the other two games during the week against the Washington Wizards, and the Detroit Pistons Jared Sullinger continued to be the best player on the Celtics. He struggled against the large Pacers front court, but he asserted himself in the previous two games, scoring and rebounding the way he has all season.
Jordan Crawford has been slumping a bit from the three point line, but has still maintained true to the point guard role of dishing to his teammates, so even though he is struggling from the field, he has developed his mentality and game enough to still be effective when not scoring. It will be something to watch going forward, when Rajon Rondo makes his way back, how the Celtics coaching staff will utilize Crawford. Will they push him over to the shooting guard position, which could bring back some bad habits that the Celtics coaching staff has tried so hard to deter? Could they use him in tandem with Rondo, both being the primary ball handlers, with Rondo possibly having developed some wrinkles in his game to allow this transition? Or will they just have Crawford as their point guard?
Promising rookies Kelly Olynyk and Vitor Faverani have certainly been struggling as of late. Their production and playing time have slipped, whether it is due to poor play, practice habits or whatever coach Brad Stevens has used to cut back on their playing time, is something that has been a disappointment as of late. It is vital that the Celtics be able to get these rookies as much experience as they can during this season, one in which the Celtics aren’t vying for a championship.
Avery Bradley showed more consistency in his production this past week. While his game against the Wizards was very good, he continued to play well agains the Pistons and Pacers. It may not seem like a big deal, but one of Bradley’s biggest issues is his consistency. One game he will be phenomenal, and the next he’ll disappear. If he can continue to be more consistent, he will still be a valuable part of this Celtics team moving forward.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they won’t have another game until next weekend. Hopefully the rest provided to them over the break, will give them a chance to come back strong and allow Rondo a good time to possibly come back.