Something is missing with the Boston Celtics this season, and one of their former players thinks he knows what that is.
The Utah Jazz beat the C's at TD Garden on Saturday night to sweep the season series. Former Celtics and current Jazz forward Jae Crowder talked to reporters after his team's win, and revealed what he thinks Boston is lacking over the first month of the 2018-19 campaign.
“When you’ve got so many guys that can score the ball, you really don’t want to get down and defend,” Crowder said, per the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett. “You really don’t want to get down and dive for balls. You really don’t want to fight through screens every play. But championship teams do that. Look at the Warriors. They have guys that can do that. They have guys that want to do that. They understand their roles, and they do it at a high level.”
Crowder remains bullish on the Celtics' chances, though.
“They’ve got a lot of pieces,” Crowder said, per Bulpett. “They’ve got a lot of pieces that have to gel together. That’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very do-able. I mean, the Celtics are a tough team. And when you’ve got Brad leading the way, I feel like anything is possible for them.”
Crowder isn't necessarily wrong about the hustle and grit, and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens did say after the Jazz loss his team needed to be tougher mentally. But the C's have been a very good defensive team this season. They lead the league in defensive rating and even over their recent stretch of five losses in the last eight games, they still rank seventh in defensive rating.
It's going to take time for the Celtics to gel at both ends of the court, as Crowder noted. Adding two All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the fold isn't easy, and the ripple effect their addition to the lineup has on the other players, most notably Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, also is an adjustment.
There's plenty of time for the C's fix the issues ailing them. They just need to avoid frustration and stick with the process. There's too much talent on the roster and coaching staff for Boston's fortunes not to turn around soon.
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