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CelticsPod: keeping pace in the East

Why the sky isn’t falling, and a preview of tonight’s game against the Pacers

Boston Celtics v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Celtics are struggling - we all know that. Blame is being assigned to everyone in the organization with a pulse - we all know that, too. Today’s episode of the CelticsPod is split into two segments.

The first half of the show focuses on the Celtics’ current plight. Friend of the podcast, Cody Chalifoux, joins me as we discuss the team’s recent struggles and where we should be assigning blame - if at all. Is it Jayson Tatum’s or Jaylen Brown’s fault that the current supporting cast isn’t at the required level? What about Tristan Thompson and Kemba Walker? Should they all be doing more?

“Are the players that Jaylen and Jayson are, or are not, passing to, good enough players? I would say that right now, with who has been playing the last few days, the bench talent has been there.”

The discussion of bench talent leads us down a rabbit hole of playmaking deficiencies within the roster. Outside of Marcus Smart, the team doesn’t have any high-level playmakers - despite the strides both Brown and Tatum have made over the last 18 months.

“Obviously, you would love Tatum to become this Larry Bird-type player who can do it all. And you would love Brown to become a consistent 6-8 assists a night guy, and both have shown flashes of that, but I don’t think they have to be those guys. Marcus Smart is someone who, when he’s in the game and he’s playing well, that’s what he was doing, he was giving you between 6-8 assists per game, and letting the wings do their thing.”

As the segment gets deeper, we start to discuss individual players, how they fit with the current roster, and where they can continue to improve. We then wrap up by recalling an old poem Cody wrote about Romeo Langford shortly after he was drafted - it’s hilarious.

I’m joined by Mark Schindler of SB Nation’s Indy Corn Rows in the second segment to preview tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are another team who have been bit by the injury bug, with both TJ Warren and Caris LeVert out indefinitely.

We start off by jumping into the Pacers’ defensive scheme under new head coach Nate Bjorkgren, which Mark describes as a high-ball pressure system, and how the Pacers have adjusted their offense, leading to them becoming 1st in the league at rim attempts.

“They’re still first in the league in rim attempts, with 43% of their shots coming at the rim. They’ve also cut out the majority of their mid-range shots, and they’re only 19th in three-point attempts this year. That’s because a lot of it is that Malcolm (Brogdon) and TJ McConnel factoring heavily this year in driving the offense, driving to the rim, and trying to get good looks from there.”

The Pacers are also missing a third star and are feeling the pinch of running shorter rotations.

We then discuss how the Celtics will potentially attack the Pacers and why Indiana’s off-ball movement could prove worrisome for the Celtics’ help defense following their recent struggles. As the episode goes on, we get into asking each other questions about the roster and diving into Myles Turner’s uptick in performance levels this year before finishing the show by answering some of Mark’s questions surrounding the Celtics, their coaching situation, and abundance of youth off the bench.

You can listen, subscribe, and review the podcast on all major podcasting platforms. Or you can decide if this episode is for you by catching abbreviated ten minute clips on YouTube, where the links to the full episode are pinned to the comments section.

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