Tristan Thompson's call-out highlights troubling trend for Celtics

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Darren Hartwell
·2 min read
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Thompson's blunt comments highlight troubling trend for C's originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Another Celtics loss brought more passionate reactions from Boston's locker room Wednesday night.

The Celtics allowed 40 points to 22-year-old guard Trae Young in a 122-114 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. They've now lost five of their last seven and are 14-14 after beginning the season 8-3.

So, what's been plaguing the C's amid their lengthy skid? Veteran big man Tristan Thompson weighed in after Wednesday's loss.

"We are no longer the hunters. We are the hunted," Thompson said in his postgame press conference, as seen in the video above. "Three Conference finals in four years. With having that kind of success, teams circle us on their calendar. So having Saddiq Bey have 30 (points) and guys having career nights against us, that's unacceptable."

Celtics-Hawks Overreactions: Time for more Time Lord

Thompson is onto something there: Detroit Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey continued a trend of opposing stars torching the Celtics that has persisted throughout the season. Consider this stat: The C's have allowed a 30-point scorer in nearly half of their games this season (13 of 28), including five of their last six.

Here are the latest five players who have lit up Boston's defense.

These stars have had their way against the Celtics over the past two weeks.

The lone outlier in that six-game stretch: Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who managed *only* 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting in a 120-106 loss to the Celtics.

So, how can Boston stop this concerning pattern? Thompson, who made four trips to the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and won a title in 2016, tried some old-school motivation Wednesday night.

"It's about time we light a fire under each other's ass," Thompson added. "If I see a guy slacking, I'm gonna say it, and I think the same thing vice versa. When we start doing that, that will lead to more consistency for our team."

Actions speak louder than words, though, and the C's will need to put their money where their mouths are: Over their next four games, they'll face Young (twice), Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic.

Boston still owns the NBA's sixth-best scoring defense at 109.4 points allowed per game. But if Brad Stevens' club wants to stay over .500, it needs to offer much more resistance to the opposing team's star players.