After a lackluster 1-4 road trip, the sub-.500 Celtics acknowledge it’s time to ‘look in the mirror’

"It's completely on us as players to take ownership. Put a stop to something if you don’t like it."

Ime Udoka made it clear the Celtics aren't afraid to make some changes. Charles Krupa/AP Photo

After finishing exactly .500 last season, the Celtics have hovered around that mark this year as well. The Play-In Tournament appears to be a likely outcome once again barring a significant shift.

They wrapped up a 1-4 road trip Friday night with a disheartening, 111-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns and currently sit at 13-14 with the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors on the horizon.

With the regular season one-third complete, head coach Ime Udoka indicated that he isn’t afraid to shake the situation up if he feels doing so will pay dividends.

“We’ll look at everything based on these [27] games and see where changes need to be made,” Udoka told reporters, “whether it’s lineup, rotation, minutes, everything.”


Star Jayson Tatum pointed out that injuries have hurt the Celtics, but he acknowledged enough of the season has passed to accurately assess the team’s potential. He said the coaches have to do what they think is best and that every player needs to “look in the mirror and do a little bit more.”

Tatum referred to Friday’s loss as “a snowball effect,” where the Celtics let one turnover or miss build and build and everything unraveled from there.

While the Celtics were without Jaylen Brown and Josh Richardson, the Suns were missing Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton and relied on several reserves.

Kendrick Perkins said this road trip showed how much the Celtics need Brown. While he may not be a panacea, his return will almost certainly help. Whether he plays or not, the Celtics know they have to improve their effort and consistency in a major way.

“It’s completely on us as players to take ownership,” big man Robert Williams said. “Put a stop to something if you don’t like it. Can’t blame it on anybody else.”

The Athletic‘s Jay King wrote that the Celtics “need plenty of work.”


“Maybe that means their roster needs significant changes,” King wrote. “Maybe they need to tweak more things from the inside. Udoka said he will examine all types of shakeups.”

NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg said “change feels inevitable” when trade season officially begins Dec. 15.

“Brad Stevens has some tough decisions ahead,” Forsberg said. “I think we’ve reached a point where this is just not working.”

Forsberg said the roster was flawed from the start — without enough shooting — and that he’s not sure tinkering the lineup slightly is “enough to rescue this team from itself.”

Chris Mannix said the Celtics “have to” change things up after a road trip where they lacked energy in several games. He indicated that the two-big lineup of Williams and Al Horford doesn’t necessarily work, and it might be worthwhile putting Romeo Langford into the starting five as well.

“Something absolutely has to change for this team,” Mannix said. “They can’t keep going down this path. It has not been a successful one.”


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