Boston, MA - Going into the 2018-19 NBA season, the Boston Celtics were heavily favored to win the Eastern Conference thanks to their stellar starting lineup of Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving. Seventeen games into the season, though, this lineup has been statistically one of the three worst producing lineups in the entire league. And as of right now, the Celtics are projected for the seventh seed in the playoffs with other Eastern heavyweights ahead of them (Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers) and Eastern up-and-comers (Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat) nipping at their heels with some (Orlando Magic) taking over the Celtics' record.
It's hard to even figure out where to begin with the Celtics. At 9-8 and in third place in the Atlantic Division, it seems like the Celtics have to solve every aspect of their game plans. After a 111-82 drubbing of the Chicago Bulls and a come from behind overtime 123-116 win over Toronto, it seemed like Boston was finally starting to find their rhythm. Many analysts even proclaimed that the Celtics were back to reclaim their rightful spots as kings of the East. In those two games, Irving went off for sixty total points, so the declarations seemed well-founded.
But these riding high feelings were quickly dashed when the Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz for the second time during the season by a dreadful score of 98-86 and then promptly followed that up with a 117-112 collapse against the Hornets, in which they allowed Kemba Walker to drop forty-three points.
It is particularly troubling to see the Celtics allow such a defeat when their defense is supposed to be their hallmark, especially when they have not yet figured out how their offensive machine should be clicking at this point. They're now a loss to the New York Knicks tomorrow away from dropping to .500 on the season and raising every eyebrow in Boston's sports landscape. And as Gordon Hayward continues to drop in his statistics, one can't wonder if a lineup change needs to come to Boston. But with a displeased Terry Rozier and a square-peg-in-a-round-hole Marcus Morris, is there even another potential lineup that will work for the Celtics?