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When the Boston Celtics won four straight games, it looked like the new young outfit had turned the corner. Many people thought the win over Miami was a fluke, but then they hammered the Magic to seal Brad Stevens' first comfortable win as a Celtic.
Turns out the doubters and naysayers may have been right. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe the Orlando game was the result of delayed reaction.
At least that's how it felt on Friday night when the C's fell to the Indiana Pacers. It was like watching the Celtics from week one. Start strong but them give up the lead? Check. Give up the ball over 20 times? Check. Have such an embarrassing second half collapse that your opponent nearly laughs you off the court? Check.
The Celtics are in an interesting albeit dark place right now. They took a big step forward with their four game winning streak, but now they've taken a big step back. On the plus side, they certainly haven't got worse. And the C's have already proven that their problems are fixable.
First things first. Enough with the turnovers.
Every time the Boston Celtics have turned the ball over more than 14 times this year, they have lost. As soon as you see them pass that mark, you may as well chalk it up in the loss column. The C's have a very small margin for error as it is without being careless with possession.
This is something that the players and indeed Brad Stevens are more than aware of.
"If you limit your turnovers, you're going to have a great chance to win the game," said Kelly Olynyk, who left the game with an injury. "The more shots you're getting up, the more chances you have to make it, the more points you're going to put on the board."
"If you would have told me that we were going to shoot 51 percent against the Pacers tonight, I would've said, 'We've got a chance to win,'" Brad Stevens said. "And we do if we don't throw them the ball."
Therein lies the source of the frustration. So many of the nine defeats where the C's gave up the ball more than 14 times were winnable. At one point there were thoughts that they could be in the region of .500 by Christmas. Now it's looking a lot less likely.
There are, believe it or not, positives with the current situation. The C's are wiping sweat off their brows after coming to the tail end of a crazily packed November. At least when it comes to the schedule, things will ease up a little. And as a result, Brad Stevens will have a little more time between games to try and fix the C's problems. And of course they have the return of a certain Rajon Rondo, which could be happening a lot sooner than people thought.
Rondo's return would give the Celtics a lot more security when it comes to keeping hold of the ball, but Brad Stevens certainly doesn't seem like the type of coach to hang around and wait for the star player to come and rescue the team.
He'll want to find the solution. Now.