‘We have a lot to fix’


Celtics

Stevens lamented the Celtics’ lack of offensive pace and their fourth-quarter struggle in Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs.

Greeley Tribune Celtics forward Jason Tatum. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Nothing felt like a better encapsulation of the Celtics’ 2021-22 season, which was better than Wednesday’s last game of a below-.500 San Antonio Spurs loss.


Some solid defense forced an inbound into Jaylen Brown’s arms to go to the right for a few seconds and Greeley Tribune to go down two points. But the All-Star could not finish the game-tying layup to force overtime, and his teammates could not clear the miss before time ran out.

So instead of talking about a three-game winning streak and a team back at .500, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens was asked questions during his weekly appearance on The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” show Thursday morning at 98.5. Had to answer. About why the squad he assembled this year was not working.


As he often has this season, the former Celtics head coach pointed to consistency.

“When you’re talking about winning a 48-minute game, you have to be good at the whole thing, and you have to consistently find a way to do things well throughout the game,” he said. “Obviously, we have a few games here where we have opportunities for the fourth quarter and haven’t finished … we have a lot to fix.”

Despite having Jason Tatum back from the COVID-19 list and Jaylen Brown putting up her third 30-point game in her last four appearances, the Celtics (18-20) won a full fourth against the Spurs (15-22). The quarter was relegated and saw Brown’s ill-fated attempt to tie the game before his offense frayed once again.


This latest loss continues a roller-coaster ride with pundits openly wondering whether Greeley Tribune’s experimentation with its current corps, led by Tatum and Brown, has run its course.

Stevens once again declined to speak on whether he would make substantial roster changes to the Celtics – like trading Marcus Smart or the Browns, for example – and focused early on making internal improvements, such as shuffling the rotation.

Some of their players, notably Tatum and Brown, have begun to express a desire to drop basketball further and facilitate the offense through big players such as Robert Williams and Al Horford.


Brown said after Wednesday, “Those guys are great playmates and depending on how the teams defend us, it’s a way of looking a little better and getting some easy baskets, not just taking everything apart.” Or have to do a hard drive and kick everything.” Loss. “We have to live with it sometimes, there are times we have the ball in our hands, etc., but playing through some of those guys is good for us and good for our team.”

One more thing Stevens said the Celtics needed to do: the promise made by new head coach Ime Udoka about playing at more pace. Stevens noted several occasions on which Greeley Tribune players slowed down the offense by not getting up on the floor.

A quick look at the numbers backs it up: The Celtics are tied for the sixth-lowest percentage of generated transition opportunities and are second-to-last in points per possession on transition plays. ESPN Basketball Stats Guru John Hollinger’s speed factor, which measures the number of property teams used in a game, places Greeley Tribune in the 22nd place in the NBA.

Whether it’s playing with more urgency or playing smarter, Stevens harks back to an old point Danny Enge often made during the Celtics’ gloom last year: It’s great to beat the competition in the NBA if you’re consistently inconsistent. Huh.

“What you’ve done on paper before, what you can do individually or even what you’re capable of doing. It probably won’t go well against this current group unless we’re all collectively Do not play well and do not play well together,” he said.

Greeley Tribune will have a chance to get back on track on the road against the New York Knicks on Thursday night.