After Wednesday night's loss to Detroit, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas dipped out on the media after the game. The C's were dominated from start-to-finish in that game before rallying in the 4th quarter to take the lead, only to squander it right back and then some. Thomas was very vocal after Boston's dreadful performance against Golden State two weeks ago, and made some comments after the game he ultimately regretted. He decided this time it was better to cool his jets before voicing his frustrations. Via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
“Now my thing is to just not comment on things and let myself cool down, because it’s very frustrating the way we’re losing games." Thomas said yesterday as the Celts gathered for an event at Boston Children’s Hospital, acknowledging he wanted to avoid the media in that moment."
“Yeah, I was very upset. I still am. I mean, somehow, some way, we can’t lose games like that, especially on our home floor. We’ve all got to do better.”
When pressed for specifics Isaiah decided to refrain from naming anything in particular:
“Everything about the game, the loss. . . . And a few more other things, but I’m not going to get into that.”
While the C's offense has looked much improved this season, their defense has taken more than a step back. According to Basketball-Reference.com, through 18 games the Celtics have an Offensive Rating of 109.3 (Offensive Points per 100 possessions) - that's up 2.5 points from last years total. On the other side of the ball, they have ballooned from a 103.6 Defensive Rating in 2015-16 (good for 4th in the NBA) to a 108.6 this season (22nd in the NBA).
Thomas has noticed the dip on the defensive end, and he thinks it has come at the expense of the uptick of the offense:
“Guys are getting more opportunities on the offensive end, so maybe that means they’re taking a step back defensively, which is not good,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to play both ends of the floor at a high level, and that’s why only a few players in this league can do that. But we’ve just got to get that mindset back of being a defensive team and then letting the offense take care of itself.
“It’s fool’s gold the way we’re playing offense so good.”
Coach Brad Stevens thinks the biggest problems on the defensive side of the ball have to do with the guys not playing together, and not giving the extra effort they need to recapture their success on that end of the floor. Those have been two staples of the Celtics teams under Stevens these past few seasons, and he believes therein lies the keys to getting back on track:
“I think, at the end of the day, we’ve got to play five guys connected, or else we’re in trouble,” said Stevens. “And that’s because, No. 1, everybody that has a good defense has to do that, and, No. 2, just size-wise, we’ve got to be there early. We’ve got to be connected. We’ve got to move with the ball to get done what we need to get done. And right now we’re not always five guys doing that. We don’t always have five guys connected together.”
Sounds like Isaiah and coach Brad are on the same page. Hopefully they can get everybody else on there for tonight's matchup with Boogie Cousins and the Kings.
Photo Credit - Paul Beaty/Associated Press
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 12/02/2016 04:43:00 PM Tweet Edit