Three Reasons Why The Boston Celtics Have Been Struggling Lately

Published 02/16/2021, 8:05 AM EST
Dec 23, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0), guard Jeff Teague (55), and guard Jaylen Brown (7) celebrate after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


The Boston Celtics have been in a dismal form lately. After having a strong start to the season with a record of 8 wins and 3 losses, the Celtics have slipped to a .500 record, losing 7 out of their last 10 games.

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Given that they have had a relatively healthy squad for the last 10 games, this dismal form was the last thing expected from the Celtics. So what is actually wrong with the team?

1) Kemba Walker has had a slow start to the season

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When the Boston Celtics signed Kemba Walker in the 2019 free agency, it was seen as a steal by many. Walker was the best player in an otherwise terrible Charlotte Hornets side.

He had a decent first season with the Celtics as he averaged 20.4 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. But it was still a big drop off from the monstrous numbers he averaged in Hornets in the 2018-19 season where he scored 25.6 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Jan 17, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Much of it was due to the sustained knee injuries he has had. He was even out for the first 14 games the Celtics played. The Celtics had fared relatively decent in the time, winning 8 games out of the 14 they played.

Walker also hasn’t hit the ground running since his return. He has been sloppy in possession and inefficient from the field. In the 12 games he has played, he has averaged 16.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. His performance against the Lakers sums up his start to the season, as he scored a mere 4 points scoring just a single shot from 12 attempted shots.

The Celtics have Big Three aspirations with Kemba in the side. If he doesn’t regain his old form, the Celtics might be in a whole lot of trouble.

2) Jayson Tatum’s recent slump

Jayson Tatum had a blistering start to this regular season. Alongside Jaylen Brown, Tatum led the Celtics to an impressive start to the season with a record of 10 wins and 6 losses. They were the third seed in the Eastern Conference. But the month of February has been a nightmare for Tatum.

After averaging career highs in all departments, Tatum’s stats have plummeted this month, as he averaged 23.8, points 5.8 assists, and 7.3 rebounds with 39.3% effective field goal percentage and 35.8% from the three point line.

Feb 2, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) handles the ball while being defended by Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during the third quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big drop off from the month of January as he averaged 28.8 points, four assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game currently, at 50.3%, effective field goal percentage, and 44.6% from the three point percentage.

His disastrous game against the Wizards was the perfect example of his dismal form as he scored a mere 6 points with a 21.4 field goal percentage. If the Celtics want to be genuine challengers in the Eastern Conference, they need Tatum back in his old form.

3) Celtics’ lackluster front court

Another big problem for the Boston Celtics has been the lack of size in their roster. They have a decent enough centre in Daniel Theis who is a capable backup, but using him as a starter does not make sense. The Celtics did sign 2016 NBA champion, Tristan Thompson to address their woeful offensive rebounding.

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Although he has shown been impressive as a rebounder, his minimal output in the offensive end is rather off-putting as he is scoring only 6.6 points per game.

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Boston Celtics center Tristan Thompson (13) gets defended by Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) during the third quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The lack of size and athleticism might be a big problem for the Celtics in the near future, considering the stronger frontcourts other top teams have. A player Boston can target for is Pacers’ center Myles Turner. The 6’11” center has been absolutely phenomenal this season. Currently he is leading shot blocker in the league, with 3.4 blocked shots per game.

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The Celtics have all the elements to be a title contender. But many of the stars are underperforming lately and have a lackluster frontcourt. They will hope that the stars, especially Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, can be back to their best and lead the side to a deep playoff run.

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Aditya Mohapatra

622 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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