Boston Celtics Struggling With Consistency Thus Far


It’s been an up and down first month of the season for the Boston Celtics. They’ve looked great at times and beaten a number of quality opponents, but their current 9-7 record also includes its fair share of frustrating losses.

Before the season began, I predicted 45 wins and a 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They’re in 7th place now, but only a game out of the 4th spot and on pace for 46 wins. They have the third best point differential in the conference at +5.6, although that was helped significantly by a 33-point victory last night against the disappointing Washington Wizards.

The team certainly has the potential to be among the East’s best. They have a very balanced roster, with six players averaging over 9 points a game, but none over 31 minutes. Isaiah Thomas leads the way in both categories. He’s started 13 of 16 games after being the team’s Sixth Man last year and his 21.2 points per is good for 14th in the league.

Fellow point guard Marcus Smart has missed the team’s last four games with a knee injury, and there could be some backcourt shuffling when he returns. Thomas is clearly the team’s best player, however, and won’t likely see his minutes decrease even with Smart back in the lineup.

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Boston is 8-4 after starting the season 1-3, but they dropped a game to the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, who have just 3 wins total. That loss hurts even more with the Celtics in control of Brooklyn’s 2016 first round pick. The Nets are a few games up on the 0-17 Philadelphia 76ers and every chance Boston has to hang another defeat on them needs to be taken advantage of.

It’s also the mark of a good team to handle business against the league’s bottom dwellers, and the Celtics couldn’t get it done on the road after beating Brooklyn at home two nights before by 25. They also needed a double-digit 4th quarter comeback this past Wednesday to avoid handed the Sixers win number one.

Shifting over to the positive, 8 of Boston’s 9 wins have been by 13 or more points, and they’re not just beating up on lottery teams. They took down the Thunder and Rockets on back-to-back nights by 15 and 16 points respectively, with both games being on the road. They’ve also beaten the Bucks by 16 in Milwaukee and the Hawks by 13 at home, although Atlanta turned it around with a 24-point win when the Celtics went there last Tuesday.

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It’s still a relatively small sample size of games, but so far it’s been feast or famine. 5 of Boston’s 7 losses have been by 8 or more, and they’ve dropped both matchups against the Indiana Pacers, who they’ll likely be battling down the line for playoff positioning. With a tough 5-game road trip beginning tomorrow in Orlando, we’ll know a lot more about this team in the next week and a half. They return home on December 9th to face the Bulls in a nationally televised game.