After some well-documented lackluster play, it remains to be seen when the Celtics will get themselves into gear. There’s a list of issues right now with this team and the only thing that will stem all of the chatter is some wins. Not excuses, WINS. Albeit cliché, winning heals all in the NBA (and all of sports) and if the Celtics can get going everybody will forget about this lull to start the year. In the comings weeks, they will get a rare chance to have the opportunity to do this as of their next 13 games, 10 are against teams under .500. It isn’t too often you see a stretch as poor as this on your schedule, but hey, the Celtics will for sure take it.
This honestly feels like the perfect thing to happen to this team at the right time. After going 3-6 in their last 9 games a stretch against some of the leagues worst teams is a god sent. It acts as an opportunity for Brad to tinker with things and try out some new lineups against the inferior competition. With Hayward going to the bench last game for Baynes it is reasonable to believe that Coach Stevens isn’t done trying out new starting lineups and I expect to see some creative stuff from him during this stretch. Speaking of Hayward, I see this as a prime chance for him to start to get comfortable and get into a groove. If Brad does elect to bring him off the bench for the foreseeable future he not only gets to play against bench units, but during this stretch, he gets to play against some weak ones. His confidence is clearly low in his ability to drive hard to the basket and he looks to be second guessing himself when trying to make the right play. Hopefully during this period, he can take advantage of the low level of talent opposite him, and start going to the basket with some purpose. He’s been one-dimensional so far looking to pass almost every time he’s leading the break and it has hurt the Celtics.
I expect the Celtics to start to rip off some wins and I’ll predict they go 11-2 in this stretch. I see them splitting the two New Orleans games and losing one of the three games at the tail end of a back to back. I don’t see this as optimistic, I see this as what we should expect from them. No matter how poorly they’ve played to start the season, they still are stacked. Their talent alone should put them over the top in most of these games and I’d even say any amount of wins under 9 during this stretch can be considered disappointing. You could argue that the Celtic bench is better than some of these team’s starting units. These are winnable games and I’ll be concerned if they falter. They haven’t gone on a run yet and I expect them to start to show they aren’t going to underachieve and that they are the true class of the Eastern Conference. Remember last year, they started out 0-2 and then went on a tear winning 16 straight games. I believe this is where they set the tone for the rest of the year and established themselves as one of the best in the league, even without Gordon Hayward. I see this next stretch of games as an important opportunity to do just that and shut up all the naysayers who have harped on their slow start.
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