The Celtics' inconsistent play throughout the 2018-19 campaign isn't lost on Danny Ainge.
The C's general manager remains optimistic about his team's chances with playoffs looming. But if the season were to end today, Boston would enter the postseason as a No. 5 seed. That's not how anyone, Ainge included, saw the season playing out.
Ainge talked to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald and expressed his concern with the current state of the Celtics.
"Inconsistent," Ainge said regarding where the C's stand with 10 games remaining on the regular season. "We look good in stretches of each game. We look good some games. [Monday] night we just needed to make some shots in some key moments. Like, there's two or three stretches where Denver made a couple of outside shots and we missed a couple of lay-ins. I don't think it's anything disastrous; I just think we need to keep working to get consistent. And we could have used Gordon [Hayward] out there, because there were some open shots to be made."
While the C's inconsistency has been frustrating, Ainge still believes with a few minor fixes they can get back on the right track.
"There's been a few games here and there when we've played really well," Ainge said. "It's like you take one step forward and take a step backward, and then you take two steps forward and take another step back.
"But I feel like there's a lot of good things I see on our team. I feel like we need to be healthy. We need to be right. And I feel like our minds are getting in the right place, and that's a good thing. [Against Denver], we weren't thinking, but it wasn't a lack of effort. It was falling asleep on some plays or not paying attention, but it wasn't some deep-rooted issues that can't be fixed. We could have played well and still lost against a team like Denver. They're a very good team."
C's star Kyrie Irving told reporters last month that despite the team's struggles, he doesn't see anyone beating them in a seven-game series. Ainge doesn't believe a flip can simply be switched once April comes around, though he has a more positive attitude now than he did in February when Boston was reeling.
"Yeah, I don't believe you can flip a switch," Ainge said, "but I see a lot of things I like on our team. I like a lot of our energy. We have lapses, but I feel a lot of it is inexperience and maybe communication that we need to get better at. At this stage of the season, we're still playing lineups out there that probably haven't played much together. We saw [Al] Horford and [Aron] Baynes out there more than maybe we've seen them all year, and that was the foundation of our defense last year. Again, I'm not making excuses. I'm not panicking. I feel much better about our team today than I did two weeks ago."
Given how the Celtics have failed to live up to their lofty expectations, is Ainge disappointed with how the season has gone?
"I wouldn't say disappointed, because the season's not over yet," Ainge said. "I'm encouraged. I mean, there's been stretches in the season where I've wanted more, sure. But everybody does. Everybody wants more. But I'm encouraged, and I see a lot of good things."
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.