The praise and adulation for the Boston Celtics continues to pour in, as they pile up wins at an unprecedented pace under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.
But for all the success they have enjoyed in this still-young NBA season, players and coaches still see plenty of room for improvement particularly when it comes to their offense.
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"If our offense catches up to our defense, hopefully we'll be better," coach Brad Stevens said shortly after the team's 104-88 win at Orlando on Sunday. "Our offense, we still leave way too many points on the board."
Boston (8-2) comes into tonight's game against Atlanta with the league's top record, fueled by a defense that ranks among the league's best in several categories.
But if there is an area of weakness to what the Celtics have done thus far, it lies in an offense that has sputtered on many levels.
Boston's 102.9 points-per-game average ranks 23rd in the league. But the Celts' offensive rating of 104.8 (14th in the NBA) shows that things aren't quite as bleak offensively as their lack of scoring might indicate.
"We've been pretty consistent defensively, but offensively . . . we need to maximize more possessions," Stevens said. "Hopefully we can keep playing together, make some shots and execute a little bit better when we need to."
While the offensive struggles are certainly not ideal, the Celtics have to take some solace in the fact that they're still finding ways to win despite a significant aspect of who they are as a team, hasn't clicked at a consistent rate . . . yet.
"A lot of teams talk about, the defense has to be there," said Al Horford. "In our case, we really want to be like that. We really want our defense to always be there."
And it was certainly needed against the Magic on Sunday, who came into the game as the league's best 3-point shooting team. However, Orlando connected on just 20.7 percent (6-for-29) of its 3's on SUnday, compared to a seasonal average of 42.1 percent.
Al Horford acknowledged that there were "some things we need to clean up as a group [offensively]" that played a factor in the game being relatively close throughout the first half.
"Once we clean that up offensively, our offense is going to be even better," he said. "Right now we're okay, but there's a lot of room for improvement."