The Boston Celtics and their fascinating struggle to find consistency

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics roller-coaster of a season continued last night, as they snapped an ugly three game losing streak with a dominant 117-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. This wasn’t like Boston’s previous win over Milwaukee this season, when the Bucks were without both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton yet still managed to force overtime. Nope, the Celtics took on Milwaukee’s full arsenal of starters, and managed to put them away quite handily.

This is just how the Celtics roll apparently. Their final three games of their most recent road trip were ugly to say the least, and there really wasn’t much reason to expect them to beat the defending champs aside from Jaylen Brown’s return to the court. But Jayson Tatum erupted for 42 points, and Boston’s defense limited Antetokounmpo to just 20 points on the night.

It’s games like this that give Celtics fans hope that they can find their footing and contend for a title this season. We have already seen a couple of them this season, such as when they held the Miami Heat to just 78 points or beat the Los Angeles Lakers by 22 points. But for every dominant win or stretch, there usually comes an equally disheartening stretch of losses or bad basketball that washes away the excitement surrounding the team.

And there lies the premise of the Boston Celtics struggle to find consistency. Every time when it seems like they are on the verge of greatness, they lose consecutive games and an array of issues pop up. And conversely, when it seems like all hope is lost, they manage to find a way to pull off a huge victory or two to restore that sense of hope. The Celtics lack of any sort of consistency has continued to drain them, and it may just be the one key issue holding this team back.

Winning is great, but the Boston Celtics need to do it consistently

The Celtics have been mired in mediocrity over the past year or so for a number of reasons. There has been a mass exodus of talent that has departed Boston over the past few years, with players like Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward getting paid large amounts of money to fail to produce before either signing elsewhere or getting traded. The C’s front office took big gambles on a number of players that didn’t pan out, and they have paid the price as a result.

Regardless, Tatum and Brown emerged as one of the best young wing duos in the league, and it was largely expected they would be able to lead Boston to the promised land. Yet the Boston Celtics only managed a 36-36 record last season. This season has been pretty much the same so far, as the team is now 14-14 after last night’s win over the Bucks.

While Tatum and Brown have been great, pretty much everyone around them hasn’t. Their supporting cast has constantly changed, yet never produced. Danny Ainge failed to make any sort of moves to get them help, leading to his resignation last offseason. Brad Stevens once promising tenure as head coach went sour quickly, and he eventually was tabbed as the guy filling Ainge’s shoes. Constant failure has led to constant change, and it’s killed the C’s recently.

Tatum and Brown are well established by now, but the constant changes, whether it be players, schemes, coaches, or pretty much anything else you can think of, have definitely impacted them. How can you be consistently great when everything around you isn’t? Boston’s play on the court recently has pretty much personified what their organization has become at every level.

The new regime, led by Stevens in the front office and first year head coach Ime Udoka on the court, still has time to figure things out. But so far, the early returns have been much of the same. Stevens wheeled and dealed all offseason long, but this roster still lacks depth. Udoka can’t figure out a consistent rotation, leaving youngsters like Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith in no man’s land on the bench.

Last night’s win showed signs that this team could be great. Tatum has finally found his mojo again after starting the season off ice cold, and the more time him and Brown get on the court together, the more dangerous they will become. Udoka is still working through his rotation, but he’s starting to figure things out. Adding Brown into the mix will certainly help him out too.

Next. Celtics in search of a four leaf clover. dark

What Boston needs to do now is build off this win, which is something they haven’t been able to do over the last year. They know what it takes to win, now they have to execute it on a day-in and day-out basis.

The Boston Celtics have been an ever changing team in their quest for their next championship, and so far it hasn’t worked out. They have had no consistency anywhere, and considering how they have struggled to start the season, it seems like more changes are coming. Whether Tatum and Brown can adapt to them could prove to be the difference between them succeeding in Boston, or a failed attempt to raise banner number 18.