Celtics in search of offensive balance

Celtics in search of offensive balance
October 12, 2013, 5:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Following Friday's loss to Philadelphia, much of the talk inside the Boston Celtics locker room centered around the team's lack of effort.

But there was more to what led to them losing for the third time in as many preseason games.

"We have to all get on the same page and learn how to move the ball and learn the plays," said Boston's Avery Bradley. "A lot of guys were forgetting the plays."

That should not come as a total shock when you consider all the new faces, some of whom are being asked to play new roles under the tutelage of a rookie head coach (Brad Stevens) who is installing a new system at both ends of the floor.

You can add better understanding of the playbook to the growing list of things the Celtics will try to shore up in the next couple of weeks prior to their season kicking off October 30 at Toronto.

Those kind of mental gaffes become more and more apparent when you consider how the Celtics' inside-out game had moments of brilliance against the Knicks, often followed by blunders either in the execution or effort.

Avery Bradley's effort has rarely been questioned, but he admits that he has to do a better job of making sure the players on the floor have an understanding of their respective roles.

"As a point guard I have to know when to go to the post-up, how to get us this shot," Bradley said.

Jared Sullinger didn't seem to have much of a problem around the basket on Friday night, finishing with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds.

But Sullinger, who acknowledges the Celtics' inability thus far to balance inside scoring with their perimeter game, still managed to score 19 points to go with nine rebounds on Friday night.

"The more we get inside the paint, the easier the jump shots are going to be," Sullinger said. "Right now, the jump-shots are just windshield wipers, we're going from one side to the other instead of going in and out."

Finding a better balance is a realistic goal, but one that becomes much more daunting when some players are looking to do one thing while others have a different plan in mind.

"It's kind of hard now because we all need to learn the plays," Bradley said.

Otherwise the bad play in the preseason will develop into bad habits, which in turn will make this transition season for the Celtics all that much tougher to stomach for Celtics Nation.

Celtics forward Gerald Wallace has an idea of how things will play out for Boston if they don't get on the same page soon.

"Teams like New York and Miami and guys like that who been together for a while, who've had guys play together for a while, they're going to embarrass us every night and I'm not trying to get embarrassed," Wallace said. "We have to figure out how we can do this as a team, bring everybody together, be on the same page and start building something."