Celtics consistency issues summed up in one clear-cut stat

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Jacob Camenker
·3 min read
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C's consistency issues summed up in one clear-cut stat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics fell to 13-12 on the season after their 108-102 Friday-night loss to the Detroit Pistons. It marked their sixth loss in their last nine games and dropped them to third in the Atlantic Division behind the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

After the game, Brad Stevens was focused on one thing: The team's inconsistent play during the early stages of the season.

"There's a lot of unknown because we're inconsistent," Stevens said of the Celtics' effort against the Pistons and through 25 games on the season. "I think if we were more consistent as a team, there'd be a lot more known. I think we're capable, but -- I think I've told you all this before -- there's a big difference between being consistent and being capable in this league."

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Stevens has a point about the C's consistency... or lack thereof. After opening the season 6-1, the team has won back-to-back games just once. Those came Jan. 24 and 25 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls. Since that time, they have struggled to put together solid games back-to-back.

Largely, that has been highlighted by the team's inability to score consistently. In their nine games since those back-to-back wins, the C's are 3-6 and have averaged 116.7 points per game in wins and 102.2 points in losses. And on the season, the discrepancy between the team's point total is even larger.

Celtics Points Per Game

Wins

120.7

Losses

100.2

Variation

Double

Obviously, NBA teams usually score fewer points in losses, but a 20.5-point difference is huge. By comparison, the C's averaged 117.8 points per game in wins last year and 105.4 in losses, a 12.4-point difference.

Of course, it should be noted that the Celtics have had key players in and out of the lineup this year. In recent weeks, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Payton Pritchard have missed action.

Kemba Walker also has missed more than half the team's games and continues to sit out one end of back-to-backs. Additionally, Jayson Tatum missed a handful of games after a positive COVID test. That inconsistency within the lineup has clearly had an impact on the team.

Even still, when at full strength, the Celtics have had trouble putting together complete efforts. Perhaps part of that is due to having played just 10 total home games, the fewest in the NBA, but Stevens isn't making any excuses for the team.

Celtics Talk Podcast: View from Charlotte - What’s wrong with Kemba? And how Hayward and Rozier found a home with Hornets | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Consistent wins out at the end of the day and has a chance to play for things," Stevens said. "We're not there yet."

So, how will the Celtics get there? Will it take Kemba stepping up and improving his 34.8 percent shooting? Will Smart's eventual return from injury help to stabilize things? Or will the team have to add outside help and be very active ahead of the league's trade deadline?

All options have to be on the table. Because if they don't figure things out quickly, the C's will fall further behind in the Eastern Conference standings.