Celtics' uneven play makes wins hard to come by

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Celtics' uneven play makes wins hard to come by

BOSTON One hole plugged, another springs a leak.
It has been that kind of season for the Boston Celtics.
The latest hole in the C's efforts to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference is the offense struggling while the defense steadily improves.
Such uneven play has made getting wins hard to come by, something the Celtics know all too well after dropping their fifth straight game this season, 89-86, to the New York Knicks.
It is only the third time since the 2008 championship season that the C's have lost five straight.
But what's more disturbing is that the two previous five-game losing skids came during last season's lockout-shortened season.
Limiting the Knicks, one of the league's highest scoring teams, to under 90 points is usually a recipe for success for the C's.
Boston came into Thursday's game 8-1 when holding opponents to 90 or fewer points.
"For some reason we are just not hitting our shots," said Kevin Garnett who was 3-for-9 against the Knicks. "The shots we usually take and are comfortable with. They're not going in, they're not falling for us. But it's just one thing after another man.
Garnett added, "we had problems on the defense, we really had to fix that. Got that under control a little bit now. You know on offense, we have to find ways to get some easy buckets. We've just got to keep going at this thing."
But with the losses continuing to mount, there has to be a growing concern that players will start pressing and trying to do too much offensively.
But that didn't seem to be the C's problem against New York.
While the Knicks' zone certainly gave the Celtics some problems, they still managed to get a lot of open to lightly contested shots both from the perimeter as well as on drives to the basket.
"We missed a lot of open shots," said C's head coach Doc Rivers. "But I don't think it's pressing. I just think we're missing shots."
And with those missed shots, the Celtics once again blew an opportunity to get a much-needed win.
Thursday's loss was especially hard to stomach when you consider that the Celtics did so many things right.
In fact, the only real issue they had was an inability to make shots.
"I like the way we competed tonight," said C's captain Paul Pierce. "We have got to do it night-in and night-out. Like I said, our offense has to get better. There's nights where our offense is really letting us down when we put this type of effort on defense in."

Will the Celtics have a difficult decision to make about Isaiah Thomas contract?

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Will the Celtics have a difficult decision to make about Isaiah Thomas contract?

Listen to a jam packed episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast with Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely, and special guest Steve Kyler from Basketball Insiders.com

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely are back with another episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast. This week, we start things off by discussing Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier - what their minutes should be...what their TRADE VALUE might be, etc.

Basketball Insiders.com writer Steve Kyler calls in to discuss where the Celtics fit in the East, how the incident DeMarcus Cousins got involved in at a bar in New York City might effect his trade value,  and would the Magic trade Nikola Vucevic.

Finally, a heated debate on will and IF the Celtics will pay Isaiah Thomas max money when his very affordable contract is up in a couple years. Should Brad Stevens limit his minutes to guard against injury?

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.