The Boston Celtics could easily be on a four game losing streak. After surviving a potential meltdown in LA against the Lakers, they capped off the road trip with a 4-2 record. Things were looking up, coming back home for seven straight games. Even with the struggles on the back end of the road trip, there weren’t any worries for this team.
Then the first game of the homestand happened. The result might have put fear into the hearts of some fans.
Boston ended up losing to the Orlando Magic 117-109. The return of Robert Williams III and being back in the Garden weren’t enough to hold off the red hot Magic.
Let’s be clear. There is no reason to hit the panic button. However, the offensive struggles were the issues once again. As a team, it was their 4th straight game shooting under 45%. Turnovers, second chance points, and overall sloppy basketball played a role in the loss.
An ongoing issue has been the lack of bench production. Specifically, production from beyond the arc. Besides Malcolm Brogdon, the bench has been hit or miss, and that without a doubt is the key to making a return to the finals.
Sam Hauser, Grant Williams, and Brogdon were a combined 2 for 17 from three point range on Friday night. No matter how successful the “Jays” can be, bench scoring will remain a huge aspect of winning for this team.
No Need to Panic
I truly do not think fans should be panicking. However, it could be the start of trouble if this team doesn’t figure out how to win games without the three ball. With Rob back, it may take a little bit of getting used to. Especially for everyone who has been consistently in the rotation so far.
You could already see the impact of him being out there when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum attacked the basket. A bright spot has been the improvement of the defense, cracking into the top ten in the NBA over the past two weeks. Most Celtics fans, including myself, are waiting for that game when everything clicks on both ends of the ball. When that happens, it could be a very scary sighting for the NBA.
Starting off the home stand 0-1 was not ideal. Looking ahead however, if the Celtics get back their offensive spark, 5-2 or 6-1 is doable. Their next six games are against the Magic, Pacers, Timberwolves, Bucks, Rockets, and Clippers.
Nobody in the NBA is considered an “easy” game, but four of their next six are against teams .500 or below. Compared to the schedule they have already faced, the Celtics must capitalize on this stretch of games.
Return of Time Lord
This is a perfect stretch for Rob to find his groove with the team. He’ll look to get back to that outstanding form that helped take this team to the Finals last year.
Williams played 17 minutes off the bench, producing 9 points, 5 rebounds, and a block. It was great to see him back on the floor with this team, and his impact on both sides of the ball was already noticed. His timing on the defensive end was a little off. Yet, once he settles down, this defense could become lethal once again.
Once Rob returns to the starting lineup, the bench unit should take off. Brogdon, White, Grant, and Hauser locks in arguably one of the best nime man rotations in the league. There even is a case that Luke Kornet and Payton Pritchard should still see the court when in need of a spark. The Celtics still have the best record at 22-8, but with the Bucks and Cavs closing the gap, they need to find their groove on offense to remain at the top.