The Celtics are officially a sub .500 team and things have gotten so bad that even team broadcaster Mike Gorman is now ripping them on the radio. Last night’s loss to the Mavericks was an absolute heart breaker, but at least you got beat by Luka Doncic, who is arguably the best player in the league right now.
Evergreen tweet. https://t.co/h7QYck3cta— The 300s (@The300sBoston) February 24, 2021
The Celtics nearly came back and showed some balls making it a game in the final 5 minutes, but it was ultimately another display of miserable basketball down the stretch that sunk this team yet again as they fell to 15-16. In the last month the Celtics have lost to some of the worst teams in the league including the Kings, Pistons, Hawks, Wizards, and not to mention blowing a 24 point lead in New Orleans.
And now they’ve pissed off local legend Mike Gorman. During his weekly appearance on Toucher and Rich, Gorman came in hot right out of the gate.
“The All-Star game is a perfect showcase for [Tatum and Brown] because they have an abundance of individual skills and that’s what the All-Star game is all about, individuals going one on one. Unfortunately last time I looked basketball is a team game, it’s not tennis, it’s a team game, and we just played like we met on the bus on the way over. It’s really sad to watch these guys right now.”
The Celtics have been playing middling defense the last few weeks and are statistically one of the worst 4th quarter teams in the league. Gorman ripped the players for not owning up to their own failures and even had to get dumped by T&R for swearing, which was hilarious and something I’ve never heard from the always even-keeled broadcaster.
“We have a tendency in all sports to always point at the manager or the coach and fire him. How about the players stepping up and taking some responsibility here? How about these guys stepping up and saying hey look I know we didn’t play well, or we came out flat, we weren’t ready to play. That is such a bullshit excuse. You gotta be ready to play, it’s your job…The players need to be accountable. “
With all of that the Celtics are now a sub .500 team nearly halfway through the season, which is not something I would have ever expected. Yes, Marcus Smart has been out a couple of weeks and Kemba is hobbled by a knee injury, but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both All-Stars and the Celtics have one of the best coaches in the league. Yet they’re now 15-16 and are currently the No. 6 seed. How??
“Am I saying Tatum and Brown are responsible for the Celtics current record? Yea I am, I really believe that to be the case because when you’re the best player on a team you also get the glory and you also get the gas,” Gorman said. “You also have to lead by example, if you expect your teammates to be unselfish, you need to be unselfish. If you expect your teammates to play hard, you gotta play hard ALL THE TIME. It’s terrific that you can get 27 a night, but how about 22 and the C’s win the game? Enough with the one on one at the end of every quarter, enough with no assists over the course of a half. It’s really tough to watch these guys play right now, they do really play like they just met.”
With Kemba hobbled and Smart out, the C’s are basically Brown and Tatum and then just a bunch of guys. You’d think two All-Stars would be able to feast on basement dwelling competition, but that has not been the case. It was another thing that jumped out at me from the Gorman interview. When T&R asked if he thought Brown and Tatum have the killer instinct that someone like Luka Doncic showed in spades last night, here was his response:
“I think they have the game for it, I don’t know if they have the personality for it.”
That is concerning.
In fairness, after Tatum and Brown there’s no real scoring threat on this team. The bench is comprised of young unproven guys and disappointing veterans. There’s not a single guy on that bench who could threaten to be a starter, which I know is a delicate balance (see Terry Rozier) but the C’s just don’t have much firepower after the Jays.
Attitude has been an issue at times too. Jaylen Brown is a smart, thoughtful guy, but he was asked about the team’s ball movement recently and his response was no comment.
"No comment." – Jaylen Brown when asked about the Celtics ball movement lately pic.twitter.com/crrckInJYh— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 14, 2021
Not a good look.
Then we have Danny Ainge on Toucher and Rich saying maybe this just isn’t their year. WHAT? I appreciate the honesty and the pragmatism, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. I understand it would be stupid to rush into a trade and massively overpay for anyone, but we also have to realize that this team needs to be continuously improving or at least trying to improve. For the past few years the C’s have mainly stood pat at the trade deadline, which is fine when you’re building towards something. You have to remember though that even though Tatum and Brown are only 22 and 24, these guys aren’t on lifetime contracts. The clock is ticking and I think there needs to be a sense of urgency that this team hasn’t faced in a while. If another year or two goes by without the C’s improving and making progress towards winning a title what’s to stop Tatum from saying ya know I’ve always wanted to play in LA like my idol Kobe Bryant? Or god forbid this team gets worse and your two stars start lining up their next spot like half the league’s best players seem to do routinely these days.
The Celtics have trusted the process and stuck to their guns and been rewarded with two under 25 all-stars that could very easily become superstars, but they can’t afford to just sit on their hands.