The Celtics slow starts have become a common theme lately

The Celtics lost again on the 2nd leg of a back-to-back in Atlanta, and after being utterly dominated in the 1st half against the Hawks last night the C's rally late fell short. After starting the game the way they played against Cleveland on Wednesday the Celtics found themselves behind by as many as 20 points. Trailing at the half is becoming a troubling theme for the C's.

After giving up an inexcusable 71 points to the 27th ranked Hawks offense (offensive rating via in the 1st half the Celtics managed to cut the deficit to a manageable 10 points heading into the 4th quarter, and they did that behind some solid effort on the defensive end. The Celtics managed to get stops and force Atlanta into taking tough shots, but their poor shooting on the night continued - it held them up from completing what would have been a massive comeback:

Of course there's going to be nights when the Celtics don't shoot well, it happens to every team. Last was one of those nights shooting 41.1% as a team for the game, but this Celtics team manages to overcome poor shooting nights when they get turnovers and force their opponents into difficult shots. You can't bring that defensive effort for one half and expect to beat playoff teams.

In their past six games the Celtics have trailed their opponents at halftime in five of them. Three of those matchups came against playoff teams and guess what - the Celtics lost all three of those games.

Jae Crowder said after the game slow starts have become a theme for the Celtics lately, and they can't continue. Via Taylor Snow of Celtics/com:

“We came out and let [Atlanta] hit us first,” he said. “We’ve been doing that for like a week now. We’ve gotten away with a couple of wins here and there, but it’s bad habits. We let it carry over (from the previous night’s loss to Cleveland) and we gotta stop that. Hopefully come next game against Charlotte we’ll hit first.”

With matchups coming against Charlotte and Brooklyn the Celtics have a good opportunity to get back to playing their brand of basketball for an entire game before the playoffs. Their final matchup against Milwaukee could likely be meaningless for both teams so these two games are perhaps the best chance to tuneup between now and the postseason.

Photo Credit - Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

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