Celtics Continue Search for Consistency

WALTHAM, Mass. – The toughest thing to do in professional sports is to be consistent. There’s a reason why dynasties are hard to come by, and why only a certain crop of players is capable of leading teams to championships.

The Boston Celtics have been consistently inconsistent thus far in 2013-14. They dropped four games to begin the season and then rattled off four straight victories before falling Wednesday night. The C’s were all over the map with their play during those two weeks of up-and-down basketball.

JAvery Bradley takes a jump shot against Charlotte

Avery Bradley scored 24 points Monday night against Orlando but struggled to a 3-of-8 shooting performance Wednesday night against Charlotte.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Boston has played nine of its 82 regular season games so far. Two of those games featured shooting percentages of more than 50 percent, while another two included shooting percentages of less than 38 percent.

One of those poor performances arrived last night at TD Garden, when the C’s made just 37.7 percent of their field goal attempts while falling to the Charlotte Bobcats. Avery Bradley, who scored 24 points on Monday night but then struggled to a 3-of-8 shooting performance on Wednesday, explained this afternoon why it’s so difficult to be consistent in the NBA.

“It being a long season and mentally some games, especially after you have a winning streak, every game you don’t come out with the same intensity,” Bradley admitted. “I feel like that’s what we did yesterday.”

Bradley put himself at the forefront of that issue by saying, “I don’t feel like I gave my all yesterday and I’m going to make up for it tomorrow.”

Of the few players who spoke to the media on Thursday, all of them made it sound as if the entire team is taking ownership of its lack of consistent play. Jared Sullinger, who didn’t play in Wednesday’s loss due to a bruised right knee, was harsh on the team while explaining that the Celtics can’t afford to be inconsistent if they want to be successful.

“Now, with that loss, it shows that we’ve got to compete every night,” Sullinger said. “We’re not a team that can take a night off and still win a basketball game. We have to compete every night.”

Brad Stevens has to love hearing these comments from his players. He is, after all, one of the greatest proponents around when it comes to consistency.

“I think it’s the most important thing,” Stevens said. “You play 82 games and if you’re inconsistent then it manifests itself in a lot of ways. No. 1 is you’re not going to be as successful. No. 2 is, nobody knows what to expect.”

That being said, Stevens acknowledges that consistency is a difficult thing to master in any line of work.

“It’s hard for anybody to be really good at their job every day,” Stevens told reporters. “We all get out of bed different days and say, ‘Man, I can’t wait until tomorrow.’ You can’t do that. You can’t do that.”

The Celtics may have done that as a collective group on Wednesday when the played for the fourth time in six days. If they want to get to where they want to be, they can’t allow that to happen anymore.

“We used to have a saying, ‘Consistency is the mark of a champion,’” Stevens said. “I believe that.”

The hope is that his players do, too.