The Celtics 117-112 loss to the Charlotte Hornets last night was a definite sign that changes have to be made, but they have to be the right ones. I wrote prior to the game that Boston needed to contain Kemba Walker. They didn’t! The Celtics helped him become the leading scorer in the NBA by allowing him to follow his career 60-point night with a 43-point jaunt in this one.
Brad Stevens vowed he would not tweak his starting-5 and then started Aron Baynes in place of Gordon Hayward. It didn’t work! Neither player had a good game. Gordon had four points on 1-of-6 shooting, and Aron scored two points on 1-of-4.
I had previously written on Brad Stevens graciously not tweaking his starting-5, while indicating Marcus Smart in place of Jaylen Brown may be the answer.
Kemba Walker came right out of the gate firing away, scoring a 3-pointer only 35 seconds into the game. By the time Smart entered the game at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter, Walker had already scored seven points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting.
Celtics finish the game 4 of 15, relying heavily on jumpers, only 2 looks near the rim. They have to play better offense pic.twitter.com/EH5pIA52SH
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) November 20, 2018
There it is. Only 4-of-15 towards the end of a losing effort, with only two attempts coming close to the rim. And the 3-pointers for the game? Boston was 9-of-32 for 28.1% on treys for this game, after going for 5-of-13 (15.2%) against the Jazz. The Celtics rank third in the League for the season on percentage of points from beyond the arc, with a figure of 35.4%. That figure was 24.1% versus Charlotte and a paltry 17.4% against the Jazz. Join our Celtics Race-to-the-Title contest to guess how they will fare against the Knicks on Wednesday.
I have even broached that the Wizards, apparently accepting inquiries from other teams on their players, might want to think of Boston as a destination for Bradley Beal. Beal is a reliable, dead-eye shooter from distance, and Danny Ainge may want to consider Bradley as a possible addition.
Celtics are 9-8 and this is what happens pic.twitter.com/pTnP4wDBnO
— NBA All Access (@nballaccess) November 20, 2018
Boston currently sits in 7th place in the East with a 9-8 record. If the playoffs started today, Boston would face the 12-4 Milwaukee Bucks, a scary thought. More than 20% of the season is history – fans are panicking – and maybe it is time for some changes. Benching Gordon wasn’t one of them.
Hitting their 3-pointers would help. Taking less of them could work. Starting Marcus Smart would get my vote. Replace Brad Stevens? No way on that! One thing is certain. If Danny Ainge determines this group can’t, or won’t, get the job done, he will pull the trigger on a trade, and it may not be a minor one. Kevin McHale has called his friend, Danny, “one cold-blooded character”. We may see a representation of that in the near future.
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Photo via Melissa Majchzak/NBAE via Getty Images
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