As intense as it may have felt at times, Friday night’s Celtics game was pretty typical for the team in the 2021-2022 season. The team was within one score for most of the fourth quarter, but were never able to capitalize and get over the top.
Throughout this season, the Celtics have been one of the worst fourth quarter teams in the NBA. They currently ranked 27th in the league with an average -1.7 point scoring margin over the final 12 minutes.
On Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens joined 98.5’s Toucher & Rich, and discussed the team’s shortcomings late in games this season.
“I think that obviously when you’re talking about winning a 48 minute game, you’ve got to be good throughout the whole thing and you’ve got to find a consistent way of doing things well throughout the whole game,” Stevens said. “I think that obviously we’ve had some games here, especially in this stretch where we’ve had fourth quarter opportunities and not finished. So there’s a number of things, and we have a lot to fix.”
“I think that our fourth quarter issues have been on both sides of the ball throughout the first 38 games or so. Most of the time, though, I think that scoring in that quarter is more difficult,” Stevens continued. “We’ve struggled to capitalize on that quarter and a couple of times it has been about making shots, period. But I’d say more than that, it is – there are little things that we can do a little bit better and that’s that’s on all of us to work to improve that.”
Asked if it’s been frustrating to have so many close losses, Stevens acknowledged that’s part of the job. “I think any time you’re in competition, it’s frustrating, but I have way too much respect for how hard it is to win. And way too much respect for the other teams,” he said. “Yes, we have guys that have really done a lot of good things, but so do the other teams. And not everybody is is exactly equal in that regard.”
“But certainly as you go down the down the line and especially in the East this year, it’s just different. There’s a different level of ability up and down than I’ve seen in my eight years here,” he pointed out. “And so just what you’ve done on paper before or what you can do individually or even what you’re capable of, it’s probably not going to be good enough against this current group unless we all play well collectively and play well together.”
“Yeah, there’s frustration. There’s frustration there. There’s no question about it. But you know, I do have a great deal of respect for how hard it is to win,” he concluded.
Stevens also discussed how the team can improve internally and externally, and what he’s doing to get ready for the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10. You can listed to the full interview below.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.