For the Boston Celtics, losers of three straight games, a Sunday-to-Saturday holiday season rest might be just what is needed.
The Celtics blew a lead of 18 or more points to both the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, then were promptly blasted by the Eastern Conference’s best team, the Indiana Pacers, by the final score of 106-79 on Sunday evening. It is the longest losing streak in more than a month for Brad Stevens and his squad, and Boston’s head coach points to the size advantage teams have as a reason for such a stretch.
“It’s hurt us in the last three games,” Stevens said of being undersized. “I thought Washington took advantage of us four deep with their bigs, and I thought that Detroit really killed us with their bigs. We need to figure out a way to be better even though we’re undersized.”
The Celtics were heavily involved with the Houston Rockets in trade talks for seven-footer Omer Asik, in order to try and solve part of that very issue. The talks, though Houston did not trade Asik by their self-proclaimed deadline, are still very alive. It appears as though Houston will indeed have to move the big man before the February trade deadline, seeing as it has been very hard to find time for both he and Dwight Howard.
Still, Celtics players remained focused on what they can control: themselves.
"We took a lot of steps forward this year, and obviously we took some back the last few games," Avery Bradley said.
“We had been playing well. I think we were playing better than people expected,” added Brandon Bass, who was the centerpiece of Boston’s rumored package that almost landed Asik. “Now that we know what we can do, it’s time for us to take the next step.”
Bass went on to say specifically what that step was.
“I think on nights where we face adversity, where things aren’t going for us individually, where things aren’t going well for us as a group, we have to find a way to change that during the game to get a win,” Bass added. “I think that’s the next step for us.”
Jared Sullinger talked about the recent plight, as well, saying that he doesn’t look forward to the break, but says the C’s can use the time to improve.
"We just want to come out and play again, honestly,” Sullinger said. “But the way our schedule is, with getting some time to ourselves a little, we can just try to get back to the Boston Celtics that we know we can be."
The Celtics next two games are at home: Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Boston has dropped the Atlantic Division lead, and now trail the Toronto Raptors by a full game.
All things considered, they need to get bigger. Perhaps Danny Ainge can play the role of Santa Clause in the next few days and give the C’s a big man. Only time will tell.