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dan shaughnessy

Patience is not what the skidding Celtics need right now

Atlanta's Clint Capela blocks a Boston shot during Wednesday's loss — a loss that left the Celtics tied for last place in the division.
Atlanta's Clint Capela blocks a Boston shot during Wednesday's loss — a loss that left the Celtics tied for last place in the division.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Trade Jayson Tatum. Trade Jaylen Brown. Fire Brad Stevens. Fire Danny Ainge. Take down the banners from the rafters, splinter the sacred parquet floor for a West End bonfire, then tear down the New Garden. Sell the team back to Paul “Thanksdad” Gaston.

It’s time for the Celtics to DO SOMETHING!

No more lollygagging. No more mealy-mouth mutterings from wimps in command. We thought things were at rock bottom a couple of weeks ago, but that was before the 24-point blown lead in New Orleans, the Luka Doncic double dagger in Dallas, and Wednesday’s humiliation at the hands of the immortal Danilo Gallinari and the forever-moribund Hawks.


Celtic Pride is Celtic Pout. Celtic Mystique is Celtic Mistake. The overhyped Green Team has lost 14 of 21 and as of Thursday was tied with the bloody New York Knicks for last place in the Atlantic Division. The 2020-21 Celtics are almost making the Red Sox look functional and accountable.

Bring back Rick Pitino. Bring back Championship-Driven M.L. Carr. Bring back Alaa Abdelnaby and Greg Stiemsma. Ricky Davis is probably good for a few crunch-time minutes.

Bring back Glen Davis. Big Baby wasn’t so bad. Stevens today has a whole team of Big Babies, starting with All-Stars Jayson and Jaylen, a.k.a. the Carmelo Anthony Twins.

We keep thinking the Celtics have hit rock bottom and then there is a new low … a Wayne Krek-low, a Leon Powe-low.

The Celtics were downcast in the late stages of Wednesday's blowout loss.
The Celtics were downcast in the late stages of Wednesday's blowout loss.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

What makes this Celtic slump especially maddening is the smug, self-satisfied manner in which all of the principals seem to accept the losing. Nice guy Brad (give the man a green cardigan) has been telling us that it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood for eight years now. He is a patient man who wouldn’t tell you the interview room was hot if his sweatpants were ablaze. Stevens is utterly unflappable. We hate unflappable.


Give us a little emotion, Brad. Flip the food spread in the locker room. A little potato salad on the walls and a few cold cuts on the carpet never hurt any professional sports team. Throw the ball rack into the showers. Call out your annoying AAU warriors. Go all Joe Morgan on us and say, “These guys aren’t as good as everyone thinks they are.”

Same with you, Danny. We don’t expect you to start throwing f-bombs around, but a “what the hell?” or a “jeez Louise” won’t hurt anybody. Stop taking the blame when we all know you are bulletproof. Stop telling us, “This is not a coaching problem.” No more complaining about injuries or a rugged schedule.

And as for you, Mr. Wyc, we appreciate your media availability — everybody knows that is in short supply from owners of Boston sports franchises these days — but please never again remind us how young Jaylen and Jayson are. Brown is in his fifth year in the NBA. Bill Russell had four championships and two MVPs after his fifth season. Tatum is in his fourth season. Brown and Tatum are both older than Derrick Rose was (22) when Rose was named MVP.

What's next for Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge?
What's next for Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge?Jessica Rinaldi

Enough with this annoying patience. The bottom line is that the Celtics roster is populated by young stars who’ve been handed too much too soon. Fans and media (Scal has become the worst enabler) pump their tires incessantly, and they come to believe they are better than they are. Ainge last week acknowledged that his players don’t take their opponents seriously enough. The result is a soft parade of hero ball, ill-advised 3-point attempts, and failure to get back on defense.


All of it is exaggerated when you have ownership and a basketball boss who are fat and happy, ever willing to wait for the future and endure the unacceptable present. We get a team of tin soldiers — taking a dive in Atlanta instead of diving on the floor for a loose ball at State Farm Arena.

Poor Stevens is clearly a basketball savant, but I fear his talents are wasted with these Celtics. There are times when it feels like he should be back at Hickory showing earnest young amateurs how to run the Picket Fence.

The Celtics resume their slog Friday night at the Garden against the Pacers. Let’s have no more excuses from anybody. No more noise about how they miss Marcus Smart (swell look, picking up a bench technical in Atlanta when you’re not even eligible to play). No more talk about the COVID protocols that impact every NBA team.

And please, no complaints about lack of fans. The Celtics are lucky there are no fans. It has spared them additional abuse they richly deserve. They’ve been unable to hear the din across New England as we throw food at our big screens and boo from our man caves.


Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.