The 3 games stretch during the NBA restart provided us a glimpse on how the respective ball clubs adjusted to the new normal. Some of them were able to pick it up in an instant while others are struggling and one of them is the C’s.

The Celtics are still considered as one of the elite teams in the league. With their core group led by multiple All Star Kemba Walker, the resurging Gordon Hayward, rising star Jaylen Brown and the franchise player Jayson Tatum, it seems that they are unbeatable. However, that is not the case and right now, they might even lose the 3rd spot in the current Eastern Conference standing.

Arguably, they have the best starting five but their bench is another story.

Celtics Losing Identity

ESPN sports analyst Stephen A. Smith said it best, Celtics is the most versatile team in the NBA today due to their ability to play both ends of the court. Their roster is created in such a way that most of them are considered as two-way players. They’re brilliance on the defensive side is stifling which makes the other team uncomfortable. Evidently, that defensive identity is non-existent after 3 games in the bubble. With a defensive rating of 117.9, it is almost guaranteed that they are doomed against high scoring teams. They can reclaim their identity but that decision lies to their head coach, Brad Stevens.

To those who weren’t able to watch the game yesterday, there’s a noticeable difference between the body language and energy for both teams. Miami Heat was very aggressive from the very beginning and they didn’t let up until the final buzzer. On the other hand, the historic franchise Celtics, seems to be disoriented and out of place.

Although Miami was able to create a big lead, Celtics kept on chipping until they managed to lower down the lead by 2 points. The furious attack of the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown created problems for the Heat. It was only a one possession game then out of nowhere, head coach Brad Stevens subbed Tatum.

This is not the first time that Stevens did it and it’s really uncharacteristic of him to pull out Tatum while he’s having momentum. As expected, Miami was able to increase it’s lead which started the end for the Celtics.

Big Men Needs to Play Big

Amongst the takeaways during yesterday’s game is the big man rotation and the bench production. Clearly, they were out muscled and hustled by Heat’s Bam Adebayo but there were no adjustments made by the head coach. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter did a decent job in containing the frontline of the Heat however it wasn’t enough. There’s a reason why C’s are often tagged as the mean machine or a hard nose basketball team. Unfortunately, Theis and Kanter don't have that aura.

Previous years, they had big men such as Aron Baynes, Al Horford, Kendrick Perkins and first ballot Hall of Famer, Kevin Garnett who are not afraid to get physical. Adebayo dominated the frontline as if he was playing on his own. The Celtics don't really need to look that further for an inside presence to bulk them up. Robert “Time Lord” Williams is still with the team but is lost in the rotation. Between Kanter, Theis and Williams, the former Texas A&M standout is far superior and athletic. Yes, he does have nagging injuries before which might be the reason why Brad Stevens is hesitant to play him but this could be the turning point that the C’s are looking for. If healthy, Williams is a superb defensive player who can anchor the paint with ease.

Williams is also relatively young compared to the two centers and they should use him more often. Former NBA players and current NBA coaches recognize what Time Lord brings to the table. Hopefully, Brad Stevens gives him the minutes he truly deserves.

Bench Players Stepping Up

Lastly, their bench needs to step up in order to win some games if not the ultimate prize which is championship. Brad Wannamaker leads the NBA when it comes to 3pt% with 100 attempts but over the past 3 games, he is a shell of himself. Wannamaker might have angered a lot of Celtics hopefuls yesterday because instead of going back to play defense after turning the ball over, he just smiled like the games don’t matter. Not only that, he is liable on the defensive end that’s why it was so easy for the backcourt of Miami Heat to drive past him.

The only bench player reliable for C’s is the grizzled veteran and defensive specialist, Marcus Smart. If the goal is to win it all, the other guys must need to step up. Every championship caliber team has at least 2-4 dependable players. If they will keep on relying on their starting five, the Celtics might not be able to pass the first round of the playoffs.

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