BOSTON — Celtics coach Brad Stevens stated he’ll discover doable rotation adjustments after his team stumbled into the All-Star break taking part in perhaps its worst basketball of the season.
For the second time in as many outings, the Celtics allowed a season excessive in factors throughout Wednesday’s 129-119 loss to the LA Clippers. Boston, which acquired steamrolled at house by the rival Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, has now misplaced three straight, 4 of its previous 5 and 9 of its previous 15 total.
After spending a lot of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Celtics discover themselves two video games again of the Toronto Raptors on the All-Star break. Boston as soon as appeared like a lock for one of many convention’s high two seeds; however it should pull itself up from its tailspin, particularly as LeBron James and the new-look Cavaliers present renewed vigor.
“It’s going to be a tough ending if we don’t change a little bit, and I’ll look at what I can change, as well,” a visibly discouraged Stevens stated after Wednesday’s loss. “I think we’re probably due for some of that.”
Pressed on potential adjustments, Stevens stated he’ll look at all points of Boston’s play.
“We’ll look at everything,” Stevens stated. “Obviously, you’re always looking for small tweaks defensively and offensively, but we haven’t gotten enough out of our rotations and subs and all those things. We’ll take a deeper dive into that.”‘
Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving stated he would go away any adjustments up to Stevens and trusts the coach will put the team in one of the best place to succeed after the break.
But Irving struggled to even look forward to his upcoming All-Star look, given the best way that Boston has struggled lately.
“Going into All-Star break, I’m thinking about what’s happening after,” Irving stated. “How we reply and what we’re doing after and the place our focus is and the place we’re mentally.
“You gotta need it. I do know I need that m—–f—–. Excuse my language.”
Irving will make his fifth All-Star look this weekend, however he did not need to discuss an exhibition.
“As you may inform by my temper, I am not even excited about All-Star break,” said Irving. “I can not even take into consideration All-Star or something. I am excited about so many issues proper now, simply from a standpoint of how to be higher, as a result of I do know what’s coming. I’ve to talk that with our guys. And simply put together them higher. So I gotta put together for myself after which go from there.”
Stevens has constantly famous this season that his team may not be as good as its report has prompt, notably after an unbelievable 16-game profitable streak at first of the season — this shortly after dropping Gordon Hayward to a fractured ankle on opening evening.
“I do not suppose we’re all that we have been cracked up to be throughout our 16-game profitable streak, and it is most likely hit us extra within the final month than it hit us earlier than,” Stevens stated.
“We haven’t any excuses. I advised our guys excuses are contagious. Everybody else has been taking part in too. … At the top of the day, excuses are contagious — go play.”
The Celtics are hoping to get Marcus Smart again on the court docket once they open the second half in Detroit on Feb. 23. Smart lacerated his taking pictures hand whereas punching a glass image body in Los Angeles final month. Boston, which nonetheless owns one of the best defensive ranking within the league (100.9), hasn’t been practically as crisp, even earlier than Smart acquired harm. But Smart’s return ought to give them a wanted jolt.
The query is whether or not Stevens will take into account larger adjustments, together with potential tweaks to the beginning lineup. Rookie ahead Jayson Tatum and second-year swingman Jaylen Brown have been key contributors but additionally have had tough patches in current weeks. Stevens has leaned on each Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris in beginning roles subsequent to Al Horford, relying on the opponent.
Asked for his message to his gamers heading into the break, Stevens stated, “Go and do no matter you are going to do, however deal with yourselves properly, deal with your physique properly, after which come again prepared to compete at a stage higher than we did.”