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Celtics-Hawks Overreactions: Is it time to blow up this roster? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics' cold stretch continued on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
The C's fell victim to the Hawks' hot shooting, as they surrendered a franchise-high 23 makes from 3-point land in their 127-112 loss.
Now, the C's are sitting at two games under .500 for the first time since the start of the 2017-18 season, and it's time to ask the question: Do the Celtics need to blow up their roster and retool around their star players?
Here are our thoughts on that and more in our three instant overreactions from the latest Celtics loss.
1. The Celtics need to blow up this roster.
The Celtics just strung together three of their most disappointing losses of the season. First, they blew a 24-point second-half lead against the Pelicans and lost in overtime. Then, they saw Luka Doncic sink them with a last-second 3-pointer in a game that Dallas played without Kristaps Porzingis.
Then, on Wednesday, the Hawks obliterated the C's and the entire fourth quarter was essentially garbage time.
The Celtics are sitting at 15-17 and currently are ninth in the Eastern Conference. Team Governor Wyc Grousbeck said of the team, "We're not contenders."
So, is it time for the Celtics to punt on the season, become sellers, and try to retool around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown during the offseason?
As bad as this three-game road trip was for the Celtics and as bad as they've been over their last 21 games (7-14), it's still too early to do that. The C's are still in the playoff race. They still have young talent. Marcus Smart should return to action after the All-Star break. And most importantly, they still have a $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) to add some talent to the team if they want to.
If the losing continues in the weeks ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, then maybe the team will become sellers. Or maybe they'll stand pat with visions of retooling with that TPE in the summer. But right now, they're still in the mix for a playoff spot, so it's hard to recommend them becoming full-blown sellers.
2. Danilo Gallinari should be a top trade target for the Celtics.
Gallinari was phenomenal for the Hawks in their win over the Celtics. He scored a game-high 38 points and had one of the best shooting performances of his career, going 13-of-16 from the field and 10-of-12 from beyond the arc.
In previous years, Gallinari has been mentioned as a potential trade target for the Celtics. He is 6-foot-10 and has shot over 40 percent from 3-point range the last two seasons, so that would add size and shooting to Boston's roster.
So, could he be a target this year if the Hawks fall out of playoff contention in the coming weeks?
Though Gallinari had a terrific game against the C's, he has largely struggled this season. He was averaging 10.4 points and 2.8 boards per game for the Hawks in 19 previous games, but he is shooting a career-worst 36.5 percent from the field this season. Paying more than $20 million annually for that type of production would be a non-starter.
Also, Gallinari is 32 years old, so he wouldn't be a long-term fit with this Celtics core. While his performance against them on Wednesday was impressive, he shouldn't be in the mix as a top Celtics trade target.
3. Jeff Teague needs more playing time.
Teague was one of the Celtics' few bright spots in this game. He started in place of Kemba Walker on the latter end of a back-to-back and he had a decent outing.
Teague totaled 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block against the Hawks. He provided a pop of energy at times and got to the free-throw line a team-high six times by aggressively driving to the hoop.
Teague hasn't had a great first season in Boston by any stretch, as he is shooting a career-worst 32.3 percent from the field, but the C's just need someone to provide them with energy. Teague brought at least a little of that on Wednesday, so he should get some more run off the bench, especially with so few backups producing much of anything.
Verdict: Not an overreaction