Despite 'pretty high' frustration level, Celtics believe they're making progress

Despite 'pretty high' frustration level, Celtics believe they're making progress

Despite the losses piling up for the Boston Celtics like December snow in New England, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens sees growth in his team’s play. 

They’re not getting wins but he does believe they are getting better. 

“I said the last couple of days we made progress,” Stevens told reporters after Boston’s 108-101 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday.


Stevens is quick to acknowledge that the Spurs did a great job of fending off each Celtics run with a spurt of their own, “but hey, we had our moments where we played really well.”

He’s right. 

But that’s the problem. 

Good play by the Celtics has been nothing but a snapshot in games while opponents are consistently putting together masterpieces down the stretch.

“We’re making strides in a positive direction at both ends of the floor,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley.  “Once we’re able to put together a whole game, I feel like we’ll get back to playing the right way. Once we get back Isaiah, he’ll be able to help us out at both ends of the floor. All we can do is build off those great things, let it carry over to the next game.”

It sounds good, but maintaining that confidence that things are heading in the right direction is a lot easier said than done.  

“I’m definitely seeing progress,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “But we’re making mistakes and have some things to work on. We have a lot of things to clean up.”

Jae Crowder is one of the more competitive Celtics you’ll find on this roster. He readily admits that the frustration level inside the locker room is “pretty high” right now. 

And like his coach and teammates, he also believes that progress is being made. 

But getting better has to eventually lead to getting wins, right? 

“We’re seeing progress. We watch a lot of film,” Crowder told reporters following the Spurs loss. “But as a player, you get to thinking, ‘how long are we going to be talk about that (progress)? I’m ready to see some wins to be honest with you. And I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get wins against top teams.”

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“[Davis] was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”