The Boston Celtics entered the 2023 Playoffs as the team with the second-shortest odds of winning the NBA title. They finished the regular season with the second-best record in the league, and were looking to get back to the Finals and right their wrongs from a year ago.
Boston Celtics Are Growing Tired Of One Another
“I’ve had a source tell me in the past week that this Celtics team feels like a group that’s tired of fake liking each other.” @KevinOConnorNBA on what's led to the Celtics struggles in the Eastern Conference Finals 😳
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 23, 2023
After the Bucks were eliminated in the first round, the Eastern Conference looked like it was Boston’s for the taking. But they have run into the white-hot Miami Heat in the conference finals, and things have started to fall apart for Joe Mazzulla’s squad.
It isn’t just the two home games that the Celtics lost to begin the series. It isn’t just the embarrassing Game 3 defeat. The problems that Boston currently has is its lack of collective effort. There seemed to be a disconnect between the players and with their coach, notions that have been confirmed in reports from Kevin O’Connor.
“This is a Celtics team that had chemistry issues… I’ve had a source tell me in the past week that this Celtics team feels like a group that is tired of ‘fake liking’ each other… It is at the point now given the way that they will lose this series against the Heat that they gotta shake things up.”
O’Connor goes on to question the performances of star players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He highlights Tatum’s playoff struggles and that he may not be the best player on a championship team. O’Connor also cites Brown’s lack of elite dribbling skills and questions his leadership.
An NBA coach calls out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
“I want to know why a Tatum or Brown isn’t just standing up and saying, ‘I got Butler. I’m going to be all over him.’ That’s the kind of thing you want to see. I’m frustrated that there’s not more fire.”
(Via @SteveBHoop ) pic.twitter.com/aH9cdChYO2
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 23, 2023
This particular core has been around each other for a long time, and it looks as though the foundation is beginning to crack. The Celtics will have some tough decisions to make this summer, including a huge one on Brown. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2023-24 season, and is currently eligible for a super max contract. But Brown has expressed displeasure with his current situation in the past, and the playoff failures won’t make things any easier.
It may wind up being premature talk, given that the Boston Celtics have not yet been eliminated. But no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, and it doesn’t feel like this particular team has the mental energy to complete such a feat.
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