Horford identifies key area Celtics must fix to break out of slump


This is the time in the NBA regular season when, in an ideal world, teams start to play their best basketball so they can hit the ground running for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs.

The Boston Celtics went 11-3 in March last season en route to the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed and an eventual NBA Finals berth.

They are not playing well to begin March of 2023, though. The C's have lost three of their last four games, including back-to-back defeats at TD Garden despite the fact that Boston had double-digit leads in both matchups.

Scalabrine & House: Celtics missing an identity

The C's blew a 28-point advantage in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets last Friday. And then on Sunday night, the New York Knicks erased a double-digit deficit in the second half and beat the Celtics 131-129 in double overtime

What's wrong with the Celtics right now?

"I would say we’re not locking in as much as we need to,” Celtics forward Al Horford told reporters in his postgame press conference. “This is the second time that we kind of had a lead, we feel good about it, a team makes a run and we just kind of let them back in the game.


"And throughout the season, you’re gonna have adversity. We’ve played pretty good basketball most of the year, and this is a time where you tighten up, you fix some of these things, some of these issues, or it goes the other way."

The Celtics went on a late run in the fourth quarter to force overtime versus the Knicks, but their offense struggled in the two extra periods. The C's took too many 3-pointers and didn't attack the basket often enough. Boston attempted a franchise record 59 3-pointers in the game overall and hit 21 of them (35.6 percent).

The Celtics are still in a good spot in the standings. They are just 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for first place and have a 3-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers for second place. The C's will play the Cavs in Cleveland on Monday night.

Despite the team's recent struggles, Horford is optimistic the Celtics will turn things around as the playoffs near.

"The character of our group, the kind of guys that we have, I feel pretty confident that we'll figure it out," he said.