The Boston Celtics were one of the hottest teams to start the NBA season. After losing their first two games of the year, they went on to win sixteen straight. However, they’ve lost five of their last ten games. Their recent struggles have raised some eye brows around the League. While their situation is similar to many, it is also unique in some ways. To understand why the Boston Celtics have been struggling as of late, you need to bring it down to two parts: Why they found early success and what’s gone wrong since?
The good young teams are in shape earlier:
Once the NBA reduced the preseason schedule, some veteran teams chose to utilize the beginning of the season to play themselves into shape. Teams like Boston, Detroit, and Orlando came out of the gate guns blazing while teams like Cleveland, Toronto, and Golden State utilized the start of the season to get in shape. To put it quite simply, veteran teams are catching up to the youthful teams who are running out of gas. Veteran teams have the advantage of knowing how to maximize their production while utilizing less energy than energetic youthful teams.
The problem with young talent:
Having Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum play above their expected level has been a luxury for Brad Stevens and the Celtics. That being said, they are still young men who are still growing. Think about it for a second. All their lives they’ve played 20-35 games max per season. Now that we’re past that mark, their bodies are going to have ups and downs throughout the years as they continue to adjust. This is where having a proven, consistent all star like Gordon Hayward would have been a luxury. It’s only natural for young guys to run out of gas at times throughout the season.
In order to fully understand this topic, you’d really have to dig into the anatomy of a grown man with years of conditioning vs a growing young man adapting to the 82 game grind of the NBA season. Once you understand how the human body works, you’ll start to appreciate guys like Gordon Hayward and Al Horford a lot more. Feel free to dig deeper into it if you don’t want to take my word for it.
Boston’s unique situation:
The Boston Celtics are scheduled to play in London in January vs the 76ers. In order to have some time before and after that scheduled appearance, they’ve front loaded their calendar. With injuries and more games played at this point of the season, this has caused the Boston Celtics to fatigue relatively earlier than other teams. This has been shown especially on the defensive end. If you look a little deeper, Kyrie’s defense has significantly regressed. In addition to that, they’ve gotten lazy on the boards as well.
Games played by top teams around the League:
Boston Celtics: 37
Golden State Warriors: 34
San Antonio Spurs: 34
Cleveland Cavaliers: 34
Washington Wizards: 34
Minnesota Timberwolves: 34
Oklahoma City Thunder: 34
Houston Rockets: 32
Toronto Raptors: 31
Once the Celtics play their one game in ten days, I believe they’ll return with a refreshed focus. Leading up to the London game, they’ve had the most rigorous schedule in the NBA. However, it appears to be quite the opposite afterwards. Needless to say, the NBA season is far from over and the Celtics need to continue to develop their top players. Keep in mind, that Boston isn’t the only team to complain about fatigue thus far. Injured teams like Houston, Miami, Cleveland, and Golden State have had to do what they can to get by and win games. However, when you consider Boston’s youth in addition to their injuries, it’s remarkable what they’ve managed to do thus far.
I fully expect the C’s to finish the year strong, perhaps even with a no.1 seed in the East finish.
Could it be as simple as fatigue? Tweet me at @tprx11 and let me know your thoughts