First, I think everything that is ailing the Celtics can be fixed by the team getting back to their defensive roots. Last week Doc held a practice on an off day and said that the team needed it because of slippage on the defensive end. I agree with Doc. They are slipping on the defensive end and that is causing them to struggle overall. A quote from KG further highlights the problem.
"I've always said we are a defensive team that can score the basketball and we got to get back to our bread and butter"....
The Celtics struggled to cover the pick and roll against the Mavericks after being one of the better pick and roll defensive teams over their win streak. They have been very sloppy and lazy on defense over all during this 3 game losing streak. The defense was flat from the start. They allowed the Mavs to put up a 30-point first quarter while opening as much as an 11-point lead. A quote from ESPNBoston also points out the problem.
The Celtics are the best team in the league against pick-and-roll ball-handlers this season, allowing a mere 0.709 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports data. But over the past three games, that number has jumped up to 0.897 points per possession. That would be the worst mark in the NBA if maintained (the Sacramento Kings are last in the league at 0.889 points per possession).
It's not even like the Celtics are trying to work in new players as Randolph and White have barely left the bench. We might be better if Doc would give the pair just a little playing time to help with the Celtics' also terrible rebounding. The only new player getting minutes is Jordan Crawford and I don't mind saying that I don't understand all the 4th quarter minutes that Doc has been giving him.
With Courtney Lee nursing a sprained ankle, the defense will take a further hit but there is still no excuse for the lack of effort we are seeing with just 14 games remaining in the regular season and playoff seeding on the line. The answer has to be for every player to re-commit to playing Celtics' team defense.
The Celtics know how to play and are capable of it. As KG said, they just need to get back to their bread and butter. It's time for the Celtics to put some teeth back into their defense. I just hope they can.