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It's Starting To Get A Little Ridiculous How The Celtics Keep Finding New Ways To Cause Us Pain

Stacy Revere. Getty Images.
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I don't even know what to say. How many more ways are we going to see this team rip our hearts out? How much more pain can we endure? It's honestly getting a little outrageous how many different ways we are being put through the torture chamber this season. Another frustrating game, another brutal stretch where they barely look like an NBA team, only to then claw all the way back and look great just so we can lose at the buzzer with a wide open look not dropping. It's insane. I can't ever remember a season like this and I've seen a LOT of dogshit Celtics seasons. I was born and molded in dogshit Celtics seasons. I saw this team lose 18 in a row. But a billion soul crushing close losses like this season? That feels like a new type of pain.

Add to it that we are all most definitely on edge today refreshing Twitter a billion times waiting for any sort of Shams/Woj bomb, things aren't exactly what I would call great! 

So let's make this one quick, because honestly we all want to be on our timelines anyway.

The Good

- There are a couple of reasons to be encouraged by what we saw last night, yes, even in a loss. It's not like it's embarrassing to lose to the Bucks at home or anything. For example, I thought Jaylen was mostly great, especially offensively

He basically was the only one who showed up to start this game. Not really sure why everyone stopped giving him the ball for half the game but when he did have it he did good things with it. Jaylen was huge in that fourth quarter comeback going 3-4 with a team high 8 points, and against that Bucks defense to see him finish 10-16 is what I would call a positive. Wild that again he was aggressive and ended up with 0 FTA, he definitely had a couple of missed AND1s in that first quarter, but the fact that he also hit the glass with a team high 10 rebounds there's really little to complain about with Jaylen. Maybe his perimeter defense, but what else is new. In a game the Celts needed the Jays to step up, Jaylen filled his role.

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- Then there was Kemba. I'll be honest, I was terrified that Jrue Holiday was going to put that man in jail. Something about big long elite defenders make me a little nervous about Kemba. And yeah, while he started slow just like everyone else not named Jaylen, let's give him credit. He turned it around.

23/6 on 9-18 (5-9) and a nice 7-12 second half, this is the version that we all need to see. I think it was big for him to play like this against a really good team. At least now we know he can still do it. He's another guy that got a pretty brutal whistle and took a total of 0 FTA. Just watching the game you know that was a little suspect.

I also thought Kemba showed up on the defensive end, especially during that comeback. Anything you get from him on that end is a bonus, and I don't think it's an accident that when he stepped up defensively along with everyone else, the Celts made their comeback. 

For Kemba to be successful, he needs to have that pullup three off a high screen drop. We got that last night. Especially when an opposing team has an elite perimeter defender. I thought he made some good adjustments in the second half and looked like the Kemba of old. That's important.

- Does it suck that this team once again shit their pants and got down by 25? Of course. But I saw it as a crossroads moment. They could say fuck this, quit, and let that shit balloon. That would be a VERY bad sign. So the fact that they strapped in, nutted up and actually fought back tells me that this team hasn't quit. That they still care. The next goal is not getting down by 25 in the first place, but let's not get crazy. 

- I cannot explain where this version of Jeff Teague came from. I cannot explain why it took 44 games. Has there been a stretch of back to back good Jeff Teague games all year? I'm thinking no. This season is weird, that's all I got.

- Grant was…..playable? That's weird because normally he's a complete disaster, but I thought he was mostly fine. He did a good job of limiting Giannis and holding his ground, he was fine on the glass, and yes I understand this is an extremely low bar but it's also the truth. Grant was good in this game for the most part.

The Bad

- It really bothers me how in these last few games we're seeing teams feast on the offensive glass. That shit is simply inexcusable. Defensive rebounding is all effort. Put your ass on someone, box out and get the ball. The Grizzlies feasted, and last night the Bucks had 10 OREB in the first half. Guys were lazy to the ball. The Bucks clearly wanted it more and you could tell. That infuriates me. There's nothing required in terms of talent to rebound. That's effort. I thought Smart was lazy, Theis just had a mess of a night, Rob only had 1 DREB, just bad all around.

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The problem with doing that is the Bucks are going to kill you with second chance points. If there's one team you can't give extra possessions to, it's them.

- Seriously, what is the deal with Khris Middleton against this team. What is going on. I see he went 11-20 but he definitely did not miss 9 times. There's no way. The second he found himself going against someone not named Jayson or Jaylen, it was BBQ chicken. They held him to 2-7, the rest? 9-13. That's bad.

- Imagine shooting 47/40% and making 19 3PM, winning the turnover battle and Giannis going 4-11 and you still lose. That's basically how the season has gone.

- And to that point, getting worked by Bobby goddamn Portis who had 21 off the bench on 7-10 shooting is so infuriating. Bobby Portis!!

- In a game like this, we needed Jayson Tatum to play the right way offensively. Early, it was everything we hate. He settled. Almost all his FGA were threes to start this game. He finished 7-19 (1-6). Even during the comeback, he was 3-10. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and as the team's best player, they need him to find ways to be more efficient in these big games. His approach has to be better and more aggressive. Even in the fourth it felt like he relied too much on the fadeaway midrange (2-5). I didn't get the sense that he decided enough was enough and the team could get on his back down the stretch. That's less than ideal.

- In a perfect world, you don't have to rely on Daniel Theis making a corner three to win the game. But he got a clean look, the trajectory looked great for about 95% of the way, but he missed. With 1 second left that's about as clean a look as you could want, but naturally all we can experience is pain.

The Ugly

- We say it in every blog, but until this defense wakes up, nothing will change. That's an entire team problem. Their perimeter defense continues to be so bad it's starting to get really fucking annoying. When you're giving up 70 points in a half it doesn't matter what you do offensively.The defensive end has been an issue since Day 1. You want to know why this team has regressed? Because they can't stop a nosebleed. Doesn't matter if it's the Grizzlies or the Bucks. Makes no sense considering this team is basically the same as last year and a system that has been top 5 defensively during the entire Brad tenure. Smart, Jaylen, Tatum, etc they've ALL regressed on that end and it is killing this team.

- For about 90% of this game we saw a version of Marcus Smart that loses you games. When he started the game as a playmaker, the Celts looked great early. As soon as he started to do nothing but shoot threes in the second quarter, things went south quick. I have no problem with Smart shooting when it comes in the flow of the offense. I have a problem when he takes those early shot clock threes and when nothing is dropping he continues to take them rather than ya know…use his size to attack the basket.

When he does shit like that, it might as well be a turnover. It kills this team. Especially when he's not bringing it defensively.

But then we saw the other end of the coin in the fourth quarter. His defense was a huge reason why they were even in a position to win this game. We finally saw the Smart we remember on that end. I don't really have a problem with any of his late game FGA. It was a wide open three and a layup attempt. If he makes that three, we are all happy. It wasn't an early shot clock bad possession three, it came within the flow of the offense. There's a difference. What I care about is what he did in the moments prior and how that just cannot happen. It's losing basketball. Games where 10 of his 13 FGA are threes is not the winning formula.

- I also don't love that Brad didn't call a timeout with like 11 seconds left. There was no fastbreak really. When Theis got the ball, call timeout. You had 2. Use one and get a good look. They got lucky that Giannis had the ball go off his leg at the end and they even had a chance. You want to get on Brad, that's a legit gripe. Call a timeout and run something for either Jay. That was frustrating.

- This is now the 10th loss by 6 or less points. Of those 10, 4 have come by 3 points are less. Find a worse team in the clutch this season, you can't. This is what I mean when I say the pain doesn't end. Nearly half of their losses are at least a 2 possession game. Imagine if they won like….half of those. Think of how different a feel this season would have.

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It's very clear this team needs something. Will they get it today? Who the hell knows. History says no, but their needs scream that something has to happen. Because right now this team STINKS, and even though it was a nice moral victory last night to come back and have a chance to win, moral victories don't count. I need real victories, and that is something the Celts seem unable to get right now.