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There’s more offensive firepower in the NBA than ever before. The Celtics are finding that out the hard way.

Effort and attention to detail are particularly critical with such little margin for error. Right now, the Celtics are lacking in those areas.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Oklahoma City Thunder
Jalen Williams dribbles past Blake Griffin in the second half Tuesday.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no such thing as an easy game in the NBA anymore. There’s no such thing as a trap game either.

Every game is winnable, and every game is losable, and there’s more parity than there has been in recent memory. As the Celtics found that out Tuesday night when they allowed a whopping 150 points to the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander-less Thunder, anyone is capable of beating anyone.

The main reason why: There’s more offensive firepower in the NBA than ever before. Yes, ever.

It’s obvious eye-test-wise, but the stats back it up as well. The league is shooting 47.1 percent as a whole – the highest mark since the 1992-93 season. Teams are averaging 113.8 points per game – the highest average since 1969-70.

Offensive rating (113.5), effective field goal percentage (.541) and free throw percentage (78 percent) are the highest they’ve ever been. Players are taking and making more 3’s the last three years than ever before. Assist totals (24.9 per game) are the highest they’ve been since 1989-90. One-hundred twenty is the new 100.

Some of the individual stat lines are just preposterous – 71 for Donovan Mitchell, a 60-point triple-double for Luka Doncic, 55, 10 and 7 for Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s not just the stars, though. Offenses are overpowering defenses throughout the NBA, and the Celtics are suffering as a result.

From a logical standpoint, with the vast majority of their regulars playing and Gilgeous-Alexander out, the Celtics should have handled the Thunder with ease. But, as they found out once again, this isn’t your grandparents’ NBA.

Some guys the casual fan had never heard of before Tuesday night dropped a buck-50 on them. Five Thunder players scored 20-plus. OKC shot 59.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3. The Thunder scored 48 points in the third quarter. Forty-eight! A point every 15 seconds!

“Those young boys over there came out and they made us look bad,” Jaylen Brown said. “They embarrassed us. They kicked our ass. That’s what happened.”

While the league-wide trend is significant, the Celtics have a lot more than their surroundings to blame for their recent woes. They need to care more, hustle more and play with more purpose. The product now simply isn’t acceptable. They’re not playing like a playoff team, never mind a championship contender.

At the same time, it’s important to note that their defense is taking a hit because offenses are simply so dang good. Mastering those intangibles is more important than ever, and attention to detail is particularly critical with such little margin for error. In the past, great teams could get away with putting forth a lackluster effort. Now, they can’t, as the opposition will consistently make them pay.

So next time you scream at your TV – wondering who the heck Isaiah Joe and Jalen Williams are, and why they’re ruining your Tuesday – remember that the collective skill across the league is higher than it’s ever been. Even an OKC fan swished a half-court shot for $20,000. This is still basketball, but it’s a different version of the sport than you’ve watched most of your life. Wilt Chamberlain-like performances are no longer unattainable.

The skill level is off the charts, and anyone is capable of scoring 20-plus at any time. The Celtics have lost to the Magic twice in a row and now the Thunder within the last three weeks. No one is safe.

While this trend is undeniably hurting the Celtics, it’s important to note that they do have the personnel to sidestep it better than most. It all comes down to how badly they want it and how much they care. Their ceiling is still the highest in the NBA, but nothing is guaranteed.

“You come out, you take it for granted, that’s what happens,” Brown said. “We probably had it coming to us. We came out the last couple games, we pick and choose when we want to play.”

That can’t happen, no matter how talented you are. It was refreshing to hear Brown allude to the fact that the Celtics don’t come with the same energy and focus every night.

Defensive intensity was at the crux of everything they did last year, and this year, that trait has been noticeably absent. There’s still plenty of time to rectify the issue, but doing so won't be as easy as it would be in a different era.

Shot making is at a premium, and at the moment, the Celtics have no answer. If they continue to practice bad habits, they may never recover.

“You gotta go through some s**t if you want to get to where you want to get to, whether it’s good or bad,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “That’s just how it is. We have to go through it, and we’ll be judged by how we handle it.”

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