The Celtics just gave up 77 points to the Denver Nuggets… in the first half. 42 points in the first quarter. I think Tommy said it best last night: “You know, there’s not a lot of teams that can score 40 points in a quarter, and I don’t think that Denver is one of them”. Celtics fans are not pleased with what they’ve seen so far. This team was supposed to the 2nd, or at least 3rd best team in the eastern conference! Fans have reason to be pissed off.
Brad Stevens was clearly frustrated with his team. Saying that they aren’t physical, hinting some players may lose minutes: “I’ve got to play the guys that are more physical”. Brad was clearly calling out the effort of his players after looking like a D-League team against the rebuilding Denver Nuggets. The Celtics have pretty much the same team coming back from last year. A roster that was so good on defense last year has somehow fallen off a cliff just several months later.
Letting the Denver Nuggets come into the TD Garden and embarrass them like that is something we wouldn't have seen from last years Celtics. How the Celtics ranked DEAD LAST in defensive efficiency behind MIKE D’ANTONI’S AND JAMES HARDEN’S HOUSTON ROCKETS, is beyond all of us. MIKE D’ANTONI AND JAMES HARDEN! Who the last time I checked, take defense… AS A SUGGESTION! I know why the defense has been so bad, but I don’t know how. How is this the same team that went into Oracle Arena in April and handed the 73 Golden State Warriors their first loss at home in 54 games? Last year's team would have put up a fight against the Nuggets. They would have scraped their way back and cut the lead to 5 with 3 minutes to go. They didn't even come close to coming back last night.
Emmanuel Mudiay couldn’t hit a layup on a kiddy hoop before last night, and he torched the Celtics right out of the gate. Brad Stevens again bashed his team for letting Mudiay get 2 putback layups that got him really going. His 24 points put the Celtics in their grave after just 12 minutes. If the Celtics are going to let Emmanuel Mudiay do that to them, what happens when they play Russell Westbrook? Or John Wall? Athletic point guards that are way more polished than Mudiay. Are they going to drop 50 on the Celtics? 60?
I say all of this to say, it's been 6 games. The team has been bad, but it’s not too late. I don’t think Brad Stevens really believes half the stuff he’s saying is unfixable. I think he’s just trying to tell the get the message to his players, “HEY! WAKE UP! THE SEASON STARTED!” If that game and those statements to the media from their coach don’t fire the Celtics up, THEN we’re in trouble. But, it’s not time to hit the panic button yet.
Speaking of John Wall, their next game is Wednesday night against the Wizards. Hopefully Al Horford will be back after a week off with a concussion. But even if he isn’t, it should be an easy bounce back for the Celtics against a Wizards team that looks like it’s falling apart at the seams. If you want to see a team that really gives up just watch the Wizards games from last season. If the Celtics fall flat against this team, after getting embarrassed like they did… then you can panic.