After Another Fourth Quarter Collapse, The Celtics Are Playing Some Of The Most Pathetic Basketball You'll Ever See

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

The last time we all got together for one of these blogs, it was titled "It's Truly Amazing How The Celtics Seem To Find A New Low Every Time They Play" and maybe you thought I was just being a little dramatic. 

Giphy Images.

Welllllll here we are. If you thought losing to a bad 15-25 Cavs team was frustrating, how about doubling down and losing to a 16-24 Kings team the very next game…at home. I can say comfortably that this is once again a new low. How low can they go? Anything is possible really. When you can't even beat the worst teams in the entire league it's hard to really put a cap on how futile this Celtics group can be. I don't want to start underestimating them and suggest that they'll one day stop losing to these god awful teams, mostly because if you look around you see that they are in fact a god awful team themselves. They shouldn't be, the same talent is on this team that won 48 games last year and won multiple rounds in the playoffs. It's the same system that has been top 5 in both offense and defense for the past like 6 years. Yet here we are, unable to find a way to win a basketball game against the bottom of the league…again. 

Coming out of the break, the Celts have now lost 4 of their last 5 and that one win was against the Rockets so big fucking deal. The frustrating part is that in all 4 of those losses the Celts were either winning or within 1 possession with 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. All winnable games for a team that can't seem to close. It's one thing to get outplayed by the Jazz and the Nets, they are some of the best in the league. But you can't close the Cavs and Kings? Fuck out of here with that. Have some goddamn pride for me one time. 

Is it crazy that despite how bad things are right now the Celts are still just 1.5 games from the 4 seed? Yeah, but let's not pretend like they are playing at the level of a normal 4 seed. Pick any team you want, the Heat, Hawks, Knicks, and Hornets are ALL better than the Celtics right now. I don't care about the "talent". Talent means dick when you don't play as a team or play the right way. What good is "talent" when that "talent" repeatedly cannot come through for you in the big moments. 

It's all just so frustrating. I've honestly considered that maybe we have a Monstars situation on our hands or something. You're probably shaking your head at that but think about it. How else do you explain what we are watching? How can a team just forget how to play basketball all of the sudden? This is not just a "oh the Celtics suck" situation. That doesn't explain what we are watching.

As always, we do not run from these moments. We blog through them. So let's just get into it so I can get a solid 2000 word emotional ramble off my chest.

The Good

-  I shouldn't even have anything in this section. How can anything be good right now? But listen. We've all waited for this development from Rob, so I'm not going to let a team full of assholes who can't beat the worst teams in the league rob that from all of us. To be honest the play of Rob is the only truly positive thing we've had surrounding this team for months. So I'm going to enjoy it and you should too


OK, now let's move on.

The Bad

- To me, there has been one thing that's crystal clear this season when it comes to the Jays. They are two young players that are up to their eyeballs in individual talent. Both have made huge strides since they first got drafted. But what this season has also done is expose them. They are not ready to be THE GUYS if you know what I mean. To carry the weight of the franchise and be the leaders that prevent this shit from happening. I reject this notion I've been hearing a lot recently where they sort of get an excuse for what's going on because they have to "carry the team". 

No no. The roster was basically full last night. You had all your pieces. And even if you didn't, that's the gig. You get all the glory when you play well and all the heat when you experience what we are all watching. That's the role of being the franchise guys. But let's be honest, where were they at the end of this game? Time after time after time we are seeing opposing teams out close the Celts in big moments. Other teams star players say enough is enough and come through. Where is that from the Jays?

Take last night. They scored a combined 2 points in the fourth quarter on 1-8 shooting with 2 TOs. Look at how they closed compared to Fox/Hield

That's not a one time thing. We're seeing Tatum and Brown really struggle in clutch situations on both ends. Offensively Tatum is shooting 48/33% and Jaylen 41/28%. Jaylen's Drtg in those moments is a terrible 111.7 with Tatum not much better at 107.9. Clutch Net rating? A -13.9 for Jaylen and a -7.7 for Tatum. These are your two best players and they are killing you when it matters most. How different is that from last year? Jaylen was a +10.1 and Tatum a +6.8.

So why is this the case? Well we see a lot of settling on the offensive end that's for sure. Very predictable iso offense that defenses can just camp out in the paint, Jaylen is having a tough time actually getting a call when he takes it to the rim, and overall they are relying on really inefficient shots. That's the difference. The Celts best scorers do not score in efficient ways, so when it comes time to come through offensively in the clutch, we're seeing them rely on shots with a high degree of difficulty. This is mostly due to the fact that the Celts just stop moving the ball in these moments. How is that working out?


- When was the last time we saw either Jay so "you know what? Fuck this, we aren't losing this game I'm putting the team on my back." I'm not even kidding. We saw it with Kyrie, we saw it with Mitchell, we saw it with Collin Sexton, and last night we saw it with De'Aaron Fox. The team is spiralling right now and when that happens it comes down to your two best players to take it upon themselves and fix it. Instead, they are doing the opposite.

- It really is remarkable how all 4 of these losses post All Star break have been the same. Start really poorly, get down by 12_+, claw your way back into it only to blow it at the end. How this team isn't able to fall backwards into a clutch time win is wild to me. A total of 68% of their games this season have been "clutch" games. They are 11-17. Those 17 losses are tied for the most in the NBA. 

Not only that, but a stoolie pointed this out to me last night. 

I mean what the fuck is that? I know there will be some that will put that all on Brad, but how about holding the players accountable? Yesterday they were up 91-90 with 4 minutes left and the Kings closed on a 17-5 run. That is so pathetic I don't even know how else to describe it. Calling them professional choke artists is offensive to professional choke artists. They're worse than that when it comes time to nut up and win these games, and I'm sorry but their best players have pretty much all been available for those games. So bad.

- As we know, when you are down bad things snowball. Sort of like this play

This was not only just the 2nd three Holmes has made all season, it's the 2nd three he's made in THE LAST THREE SEASONS. So now he's going to bank home a late fourth quarter end of shot clock three? Of course he is. That basically turned the game in the final 3 minutes. 


- I keep saying it in every blog, but it's mostly because it keeps happening. Until this team wakes up in terms of their perimeter defense, nothing is going to change. This might be the worst defensive season we've ever seen Marcus Smart have. There is no resistence on the perimeter which means opposing guards are living in the paint. That dribble penetration is forcing the Celts to rotate and give up open looks. How many more opposing guards do we need to see go off against this team until someone takes it personally and actually gives a shit? I'm looking at Jaylen, Smart, Tatum, etc. Kemba tries but he's small as shit so it's mostly whatever. 

- It's insane to me that we witnessed another game with a 26-7 FTA difference. This was not a game where the Celts did nothing but take threes. It was just like the CLE game when that was like a 26-4 difference. The Celts had 50 points in the paint. They only took 31 3PA in their 91 FGA. Jaylen was aggressive time and time again, and he takes 0 FTA? No player on the Celts took more than 2. Meanwhile, Richaun Holmes took 12. 

Part of it is the fact that the Celts cannot defend without fouling, but I truly do not understand how a team can be aggressive from the jump and not take any FTs. This is now the second time in three games and it makes no sense.

The Ugly

- I'm not really sure where else to put this

You may not want to admit it, shit I don't even want to type it, but the reality is Smart has done more harm than good since his return. The defense isn't there, offensively he's been brutal and we're not seeing any consistent playmaking on that end. I'm in no way saying he's the root of their issues, he's just another part of the mix, but 0-19???? Sheesh.

- Make no mistake though, Kemba is not exempt from this shit either. In fact, he was a big time issue last night. Just 6-18 (3-8), he took only 1 FT. When it came time for the fourth quarter, he was just 3/8. His shot selection was mostly ass and it put this team in a tough spot. Of his 8 FGA, only 2 were in the paint. He was 1-3 from three and it was pretty clear that he did not have it going, yet he continued to take long jumpers in clutch moments. I get trying to shoot your way out of it, but do that in the 2nd quarter, not clutch time minutes.

Did you know Kemba is shooting 18/15% in clutch time minutes? How is that even possible! I mean Smart isn't much better at 28/16%, but they aren't exactly the same in terms of offensive talent. That shit has been brutal all year. So as you can see, it's not a surprise that this team is so bad in the clutch when their 4 best players are having some of the worst clutch production in the entire league.

- Now that fourth quarter. We all knew what was going to happen. It's the same shit every game. The difference was this was not a game we saw Brad play Jeff Teague to start. He was a DNP! And yet the Celts go from 36 points in the third to just 15 points on 6-21 in the fourth. Against the 30th ranked defense in the NBA. I just don't understand what happens to them mentally once you get to that quarter.


Actually, I do. They crumble. The are mentally weak. Let's just call it what it is. This team for whatever reason has not been able to respond to the challenge of coming through in winning time. Instead, they poop their pants. It's insanely frustrating and the honest truth is it's their best players. It's not all on Grant or Theis or Rob. You are only as good as your best players and somehow our best players turn into G-League guys in the fourth. Explain that. 

We can hear all the cliches and bullshit in postgame interviews, but those words mean nothing until we see some actual changes. It's not about talking the talk it's about walking the walk. My question is how many more wake up calls do they need? They are 20-21. We are 41 games in and it's been the same shit all season. This isn't a small sample, this is just who they are. And who they are is a team that would be lucky to even make the play in game right now. It's embarrassing to watch because the only consistent thing about this team is their inability to win basketball games. Doesn't matter who it's against. 

So welcome to the new low. Don't get comfortable though because there's a Sunday matinee against a 14-27 Orlando Magic team tomorrow and we ALL know how that's going to go.