The Boston Celtics have reached a point of clear concern, already a quarter of the way into the season and sporting a record merely one game over the .500 mark. Star point guard Kyrie Irving voiced his legitimate worry for this team’s direction, as they are barely clawing their way into the playoffs after snatching the second seed in the East last season.
“You’re almost at that rock bottom point where the team is about to blow up,” Irving told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “Not saying that we’re there, but for me there is no more time to waste.”
The Celtics are 11-10 on the season and the sixth seed in the East, a far cry from what most experts expected them to be, now at full force with Irving and Gordon Hayward healthy enough to take the floor.
Boston is a disappointing 2-4 in its last six games and clearly struggling to generate enough offense.
Monday night’s win against the New Orleans Pelicans was the first time the Celtics reached 120 or more points within regulation, as they had only previously done so in an overtime win over the Toronto Raptors.
The team still has an emphasis on defense, but they are no longer feared for that stingy mentality that propelled them to the Eastern Conference Finals and left them only a game shy of reaching the promised land.
“We don’t impose our fear and will on other teams,” said defensive ace Marcus Smart. “Last year, teams used to, when they came in and played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight. This year, teams can’t wait to play us. That’s a problem.”
The Celtics will have to make decisions soon if they can’t turn the corner and start putting some pressure on their two biggest threats, the Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, who have managed to get ahead after making risky trades to stake a claim for the vacant Eastern Conference throne in the wake of LeBron James’ westward departure.