Boston Celtics

We may figure out Celtics … but not any time soon

There is something relentlessly maddening about the 2021-2022 Boston Celtics.

For instance:

With every display of potential greatness – for instance, winning a game in Philadelphia by 48 points – there comes a moment of unbridled exasperation.

The latter would be losing a game to the worst team in the NBA. At home. Blowing an eight-point fourth-quarter lead.

Great NBA teams do not lose to the league’s dregs at home. In the closing minutes. When they are in a nine-game winning streak.

Period.

A game’s end, it seemed as if the putrid display against the Pistons was a mirage. One and all remained laser-focused on that 11-2 record leading into the break, how the Celtics proved themselves by climbing out of a season-opening rut to and reach the perch reserved for true contenders.

Swell.

Wednesday night they displayed all the urgency seen in a 10 a.m. shoot-around.

That is not easily explained away. A contender might waltz through one, two or three quarters, but would then turn on the jets.

They played without Marcus Smart, who rolled an ankle in the first half against the Sixers. Somehow the Celtics managed to make it through the game in Philly without blindly bumbling around.

Injuries? This deep into an NBA season, is there a team perfectly healthy and primed for peak performance?

Could it have been the fatigue of playing back-to-back nights?

Looking a bit weary is one thing. Getting out-worked by Detroit’s train-wreck of a club is dumbfounding.

Did we mention that the Pistons hadn’t won a road game in four weeks?

And that the Celtics were playing on the parquet?

Red Auerbach peered down and may have pondered erasing his signature. Lucky keeled over at mid-court and slid that shamrock-studded derby over his face.

This is the new standard for why this Celtics team is so baffling. Name something that the 34-25 Celtics did better than the 12-45 Pistons on Wednesday night.

Take all the time you need.

Thanks to the NBA All-Star break, Celtics fans won’t have to resume throwing beer cans at their TV screens until next Thursday.

The C’s are scheduled to visit the Brooklyn Nets to open the post-break season.

Both clubs are presently floating in the reservoir of mediocrity populated by clubs that have a great shot at being in the playoffs, however briefly.

Odds are, the Celtics will rout the Nets,

They visit Detroit two days later.

Turn off the TV and curl up with a good book.

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