BOSTON - There's no getting around the fact that the Boston Celtics (27-14) have come upon hard times, a team searching for solutions after dropping a 123-119 loss to Phoenix on Saturday, their sixth loss in the last eight games.
Suns center Aron Baynes, who spent the previous two seasons playing for Boston, remembered stretches of bad play similar to this. They found themselves fighting off the urge to throw a pity party which is something that ails many teams in similar predicaments.
Last season, Boston lost seven of 10 in November only to bounce back and win nine of their next 10. They had another stretch later in the season in which they lost five of eight games and came back to win four in a row.
Then in March, they lost four straight, only to close out the regular season winning six of their last eight. That set the tone for their first-round series sweep of the Indiana Pacers.
Those tough times, Baynes recalls, became a necessary catalyst for future success. He predicts that will once again come to fruition for the Celtics, with head coach Brad Stevens playing a prominent role in that turn-around.
"The best thing about it was, Brad really used it to get the team focused, get going, good runs after that," Baynes said. "That was kind of, a number of those lulls turned into good stretches to finish out before the All-Star break and going into the playoffs."
There was no mistaking Stevens' disappointment after Saturday's loss. His team once again came out slow and waited for the game to be too far out of hand before they began to play Celtics-like basketball.
The way Stevens sees it, the struggles of the moment are setting the table for success in the (near) future.
"This will be a good stretch when we look back on it, because it'll force improvement," Stevens said. "It'll force urgency on every detail. It'll force the ‘do your job; for 48 minutes. And so that's … these are never fun to go through. You know, it sucks, but these are usually what you look back on and say was a springboard for you."
Baynes echoed similar sentiments.
"We had a couple of these things kind of spring-boarded us into good runs," Baynes said. "I know they are going to do the same thing. They've shown over the course of the year. They'll be able to get it going for sure."
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