Just last night, the Boston Celtics lost another game to the Sacramento Kings. This dropped their record to 11-9. Clearly, the Celtics slow start is not unknown. Boston is now 4-6 in their last 10 games. Those losses came to the Knicks, 76ers (twice), Spurs, Lakers and Kings. Most of those losses have been relatively close for the most part.
Although Boston hasn’t been playing their best basketball lately, there truly is no need to panic just yet. Besides the game against the Knicks, all these losses have been relatively close games. Obviously, the most notable game from those six was against the Lakers, where Kemba Walker failed to hit the game-winner in the final seconds. The Celtics lost that game 96-95.
That brings up another point, Kemba Walker. Ever since the playoffs last year, I think we can all agree Kemba hasn’t looked like his normal self. This is a big reason Celtics fans are panicking right now. After his horrible performance against the Lakers on Saturday night, the immediate reaction from Celtics fans, including myself, was: trade Kemba Walker!
That was definitely an overreaction, as one game doesn’t define a player; however, it does bring up an interesting point: is a Walker trade possible before the deadline? Maybe, and I truly believe Danny Ainge wouldn’t go trade someone, especially your all-star point guard unless you were really improving your team. Kemba hasn’t been healthy for a while, but as he makes strides to get back to his normal self, there is no need to worry over his recent performance despite the Celtics slow start.
The Not So Healthy Celtics Slow Start
Speaking of Walker’s injury, the Celtics have dealt with injuries/COVID all season. Kemba, Payton Pritchard, Jayson Tatum and Tristian Thompson are just a shortlist of players who have either been injured or dealt with COVID causing them to miss games.
In recent news, Marcus Smart was just diagnosed with a calf strain after his scary non-contact injury against the Lakers. That will keep him out for a decent amount of time. Out of everything the Celtics have dealt with this season, the Smart injury may impact them the most. In addition to Smart’s first-team all-defensive presence, he is also the leader of the Celtics. The “heart and soul” of the team most players say. Not having him on the court will be a very tough obstacle to overcome.
Lastly, one thing you may or may not have forgotten is the trade exception the Celtics have. When Gordon Hayward went to the Hornets this offseason, the Celtics were able to receive due to a sign and trade Danny Ainge worked out with the Hornets. This trade exception is the largest TPE in league history, and Boston has every intention to use it. In fact, they had to give up two second round picks in order to get this exception. It will be interesting to see how Boston will use this, but it will only improve their team.
So to conclude, the Celtics slow start is obvious. But as I said, there is no need to panic. The Celtics are yet to have been at full strength all season. When they are, the Celtics will be a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference and could make another run at the NBA finals. If Kemba can get back to his old self, and the Celtics can stay injury/COVID free, there is no reason this team won’t be able to compete for banner 18.
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