Every NBA team has ups and downs over the course of the 82 game season. Look at the rest of the Eastern conference where 9 teams have between 9 and 11 wins and only the Cavs have shown any kind of separation from the pack. But this Celtics team is something else.
When they are on, they are red hot.
Monday was Boston's 9th double-digit win in 18 games. They're on pace for 41, only one Celtics team had more... '08 - 45 '62 - 41 '86 - 40— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 1, 2015
When they are off, they are living in igloos fishing in holes in the ice.
Here's a good visual of what I'm talking about.
The Celtics pic.twitter.com/JjBOD27SqF— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) December 1, 2015
Some more fun stats for you. In wins, the Celtics have a net differential of 16.5 which is basically what the Warriors do every night. When they lose, it is -11.9 which is about what the Sixers are averaging for the season.
In wins, the offensive rating is 105.5, the defense is 88.9, the 3 point shooting is at 33.8% and they get 12 steals per game.
In losses, the offensive rating is 94.4, the defense is 106.3, the 3 point shooting is at 29% and they get 10.4 steals per game.
In short, this team is all over the map and more impossible to predict than the New England weather.
Yesterday we had the topic of rotations and who was to blame for the inconsistent play. Unsurprisingly Danny Ainge weighed in with support for his coach.
Celtics Notebook: Ainge lines up behind Stevens | Boston Herald
There’s nobody on earth who wants a set rotation more than Brad Stevens right now, so he can plan and organize offenses around those players. "But inconsistent play has made that a challenge, and the quality of the talent level has made that a challenge for Brad," "It’s not a coach’s job to give opportunities for everybody. To me, it’s a player’s job to make that coach feel like he needs you on the court to win — because every coach wants to win."
Call it a chicken or the egg situation. Do players need minutes to earn playing time or do they need to earn playing time to justify minutes? I don't know, I just hope that they figure it out.
I think at some point you do have to point to the team's youth as a root cause. This is a younger team that is still learning how to thrive in the NBA. Aside from Isaiah Thomas, there's no consistently dangerous threat on offense (although Avery Bradley is getting there). It is a revolving door of "who will step up today?" That has to be hard to coach.
Perhaps the narrative is too easy and straightforward, but I haven't got a better explanation for you right now. This seems like the growing pains of a young team without a core set of stars to rely upon game-in and game-out. We expected them to be a 45ish win team and they are on pace for 45 wins thus far. There will be good days and bad days, I just didn't expect the good to be so great and the bad to be so ugly.