56°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Celtics struggles continue following All-Star break

With All-Star Sunday wrapped up and the break finally over, the Boston Celtics hoped to continue to build on the momentum that they had going into the All-Star break. Unfortunately, the Celtics have struggled to do that so far.

As of right now, the Celtics are four games removed from the All-Star break and they are 1–3 in those four games. This includes losses to the Utah Jazz, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their one win was to the Houston Rockets, who did not have their best player. What makes this even worse is that Marcus Smart has been back for these four games. He only plays around 20 minutes per game, but in those 20 minutes, his impact is evident. Scoring-wise he has been streaky, with 19 against the Nets and Cavs, and five against the Jazz and Rockets. Of course, even if Smart is only playing 20 minutes or scoring five points, he is still making an impact on the defensive end. It has been nice to see him back on the floor taking charges and playing defense. Last night against the Cavs, you could see the energy they were playing with, especially in that third quarter. The Celtics stayed in that game by getting steals and scoring off of those turnovers. Obviously, they lost that game, but if Boston could play with that energy the whole time, they could have won that game. 

This defensive energy is going to be vital in these next couple of games, especially considering how packed the schedule is going to be. The schedule goes as following:

Friday, March 19: Sacramento Kings

Sunday, March 21: Orlando Magic

Monday, March 22: Memphis Grizzlies

Wednesday, March 24: Milwaukee Bucks

Friday, March 26: Bucks

Saturday, March 27: Oklahoma City Thunder

What stands out is not the difficulty of the schedule, but how close they are together. It would be easy for them to lose some of these games just because they are tired, and if this happens, our seeding could take a big hit. This is why we need our bench to step up and take some offensive responsibility from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Robert Williams has been playing amazing off the bench, but his offensive game relies on someone setting him up and usually, that’s Tatum or Brown. They don’t want to put pressure on Prichard to have such a role being that he is only a rookie, but his play-style fits this the most. If he could come in and just average 10 points for the next couple of games, then he would be in a much better place.

Like I said at the beginning of the season, this is going to be a weird year. Right now, the Celtics are the seventh in the east and to be frank, if they keep playing like they have, there is no guarantee that they will be a top four seed this season. Do they want to trade for a guy to help them be a contender (and if so, who) or do they want to work with what they have even if that means not being as good as people predicted? The ladder option would mean giving more minutes to players like Robert Williams, Payton Prichard, and Aaron Nesmith. In the long run, I think being bad now and sticking it out is the better option just because of how good the east is this season, particularly Brooklyn. There is nobody we can trade for that would make Boston better than Brooklyn, so trading away young players to get better now and lose in the playoffs anyways is not worth it. They just need to play better.
 

About the Contributor
Josemanuel Cruz, Sports Writer