Your Morning Dump… Where frustration doesn’t lead to action | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Your Morning Dump… Where frustration doesn’t lead to action


Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

When the Celtics put together a season-best four-game winning streak in late December, some wondered if they might be the favorite to earn the No. 2 seed in a crowded Eastern Conference. Two weeks later, the Celtics find themselves at 19-18 and a half-game outside the playoff picture. The Celtics were supposed to separate themselves from the pack during this favorable stretch on the schedule. Instead they’ve slipped behind the pack. In fact, if the Celtics lose against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, the two teams would essentially be tied in the standings.

Which is to say that things have not gone the way that Boston expected. The Celtics simply seem unable to move forward, either resting on the success they’ve enjoyed, or powerless to move past setbacks. That goes for on-court action, too. The worst thing for Boston seems to be an early lead, because the Celtics tend to downshift and let their opponent gain confidence while rallying from behind. Then, when things get tight, Boston goes into a shell and wants things to come easy. And it never does.

ESPN Boston – Balking in Memphis 

Remember two weeks ago? The Celtics were 18-13, staring a palatable schedule of basement dwellers and cream puffs with thoughts of a top-three seed in the east dancing in fans’ heads. And if you thought fans were excited, you should have seen the advanced number guys! Already an analytics darling, the Cs were heralded as one of the best teams in the league based on the data.

Times were good in late 2015.

Now? These Cs look a lot like the green of the first year-and-a-half of the Brad Stevens era. Young, mentally unfit and offensively challenged. Young enough to let success get to their head in losses to the Lakers and Nets at home; mentally unfit enough to fumble away early game leads and get away from what was working early in a home loss to the Pistons last week; and offensively challenged in ways feared to be this squad’s achilles heel from the start: an inability up and down the roster (save for Isaiah Thomas) to create shots at the rim and make shots away from it.

What hurts the most about last night? I thought the Cs would come out with a little extra juice — due in part to not only the team’s recent struggles, but for their always steady coach, whose last week has been an emotional roller coaster. They did come out with some extra punch, but as has been the case recently, could not sustain it. It’s starting to look a lot like 2014, and I’m not liking it.

On page 2, the good and the bad of Marcus Smart

The story of this game was told at the free throw line. The Celts outscored Memphis, 81-66, from the floor, but the Grizzlies took 17 more free throws and outscored them by 18 from the stripe.

Two of those Memphis points came from Mario Chalmers after he was fouled by Smart with 33 seconds left. Smart was blocked on a drive on the previous play, and he was upset there was no call. He seemed to take out his frustration when he went back down the floor.

“At that point in time, we’re not intentionally fouling,” coach Brad Stevens said.

Crowder had more to say about it at the time, and he and Smart went back and forth.

“He’s just telling me we didn’t need to foul there,” said Smart. “It was heat of the moment and, you know, two players, competitors going at it, both mad at each other. I’m mad at myself. He’s mad at me because I made the play. But me and Jae are good. That’s supposed to happen. I made a bad play.”

Herald – Celtics meltdown in Memphis 

A season and a half into Marcus Smart’s career and the narrative in process is that Smart’s emotion is both a huge plus and a crippling minus.

You cannot commit that foul in that spot last night. Smart probably knows that, but the frustration of getting rejected by Barnes caused enough frustration for the young guard to forget that in the heat of the moment.

The foul caused exasperation for the rest of the Cs and even Stevens’ likely laced his deadpanned response above with some aggravation.

The Celtics are good enough to compete with nearly every team in the league on any given night, which they’ve actually shown throughout the course of this recent skid. The troubling part is that when games get close, they’re the team folding. Reggie Jackson, Brook Lopez, Jordan Clarkson, Derrick Rose and Zach Randolph have made big plays late in games while the Cs are able to counter punch for a bit, but unable to continue punching.

As far Smart, his narrative is far from finalized, but last night was yet another instance of his emotion proving costly.

Related Links: Mass Live – Marcus Smart apologizes for late foul that frustrated Boston Celtics teammates

And finally, thoughts go out to Andrew Smith and his family

Former Butler player Andrew Smith’s wife, Samantha, blogged Sunday morning that doctors have told her “death is imminent” for her husband.

“I have been staring at a blank Word document for twenty minutes trying to find the words to say,” she wrote on the blog where she has shared updates on Smith’s status. “I can’t bear where we’re at and the situation we are in. I can’t comprehend how we’ve gotten to this place. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that there is nothing left to do for Andrew except tell him how much I love him, hold his hand and be with him for very second we have left together. The doctors tell me death is imminent and that Andrew is going to die from this disease. There are no treatments, no clinical trials…there is nothing left to do.”

Mass Live – Andrew Smith’s wife: ‘Doctors tell me death is imminent’ for former Butler player

It’s been a frustrating stretch of games for the Celtics and fans, but Andrew Smith’s battle with cancer puts all of that in perspective. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for Stevens to compartmentalize at this juncture.

Positive thoughts go out to Smith and his family.

The rest of the links: CSNNE – Frustration shows in Celtics’ latest loss | Stars, studs and duds | Mass Live – Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley frustrated after giving game away to Memphis Grizzlies | NESN – Brad Stevens stresses simple solution to Celtics’ late-game struggles


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  • Sean

    Worried about this team. Danny has to make a change.

  • adam

    Dare I say the Celtics played better without Smart when he was injured?

    • BIG_HITTA1

      Unfortunately you may be accurate. Smart has been playing more like a spare part that should get <20 mins a game vs a key cog. He seems to be regressing. I still love his hustle & fire but more is needed from him. Smart appears to be regressing vs improving. His FG% is just about 31%. That is a brutal #, its like an MLB player hitting .180. I see Danny trading Smart.

  • KGino

    David Lee ad James Young suck. I’ve been saying this all year. They need DNP-CD next to their names in the box score every game!!

    You know what else sucked last night? The refereeing. Once again clearly screwing us out of several points that eventually cost us the game. Marcus smart alley oop put back attempt, somehow a foul on the floor!? Awarded no free throws. 5 plays later dude sticks his hand up through the rim on a shot attempt, no call. Plain an simple, the Cs are not good enough to overcome teams AND the refs making horrid calls against them. They could have easily won this game, but once again the refs take away 4-6 points that end up being the deciding factor. So frustrating

    • Curt Hays

      Even if they had won…it’d have been without Mike Conley. This team won’t do squat in the playoffs unless something changes.

      • Dave

        Is it bad that I’m more excited for the trade deadline more than anything at this point? Pretty much our whole roster is tradable with a boatload of draft picks to sweeten the pot.

        Especially with guys like DMC, Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah being made available, anyone would already be an improvement with a team that lacked a true 5 for the past 5 years (no pun intended).

        • Curt Hays

          I don’t think it’s bad. I’m right there with you.

          BUT…I trust Brad to fix it…even if I can’t stand to watch right now.

    • CFH

      That hand through the rim on a shot attempt was the worst non-call I’ve seen in a long time. Just hilariously, pathetically bad. I know refereeing is hard, but how do you miss THAT?

      I guess it’s nice that the Celtics didn’t have to be alone in sucking spectacularly last night.

  • zippittyay

    Marcus Smart is not a point guard. He lacks the ball handling, quickness and passing skills. Smart is not a shooting guard either as his shooting ‘stroke’ is more of a hurl. It will never be much better. Marcus lack the pure athleticism to make up for his lack of a dependable outside shot. He is a defensive savant who has a knack of making big plays due to his great ability to anticipate the actions of the opposition. IMO he has a relatively low ceiling as a player. At best he will only be Tony Allen with less explosiveness but ‘smarter’.

    • RedsLoveChild

      Apparently, this is what the #6 pick in the draft gets you these days.

      • forever_green

        I never liked the pick, only made the rebuilding process longer.

        • RedsLoveChild

          Why Smart was so highly regarded coming out of college is a mystery that will never be solved.

  • Mike C

    Regardless if Smart commited an error with a foul at the end of the game, it was the entire team that managed to blow a 21 point lead. There’s plenty of blame to go around with this team right now. Hopefully Brad has some magic left to turn this around?