It became obvious during the Celtics 122-113 loss to the Pacers on Wednesday, Boston's bench was simply a non-factor after being outscored by the opponent's second unit 47-19.
Marcus Smart was out with an eye infection - Jaylen Brown and both Daniel Theis fouled out, while Gordon Hayward suffered a game-ending facial contusion. That's all that Indiana needed to take the game away from the Celtics.
Weird Game— Celtics ☘️Canada🇨🇦 🏀 (@CelticsCanada) December 12, 2019
With the Celtics in control late in the third here was Brad’s lineup:
This has been a season-long issue for the Celtics, who have a 17-6 record after 23 games, but they are second-to-last (29th) in the NBA in points scored off the bench. Boston's second unit only scores 27.1 points per-game. Compare that figure to the top-ranked Clippers whose bench puts up 52 points a game and it's time for the Celtics to address this problem.
I recently proposed that Danny Ainge should at least make an inquiry about Wizards' sharpshooting big man, Davis Bertans. As Washington's second-leading scorer behind Bradley Beal, he's putting up 15.7 points in only 28.9 minutes per game. Bertans would fill Boston's need for a quality big, while adding a proven scorer off the bench that hits the 3-ball at a 46.5-percent clip.
The Celtics lack of bench scoring will be exploited come playoff time, and the addition of a veteran that can come off the pine to put points on the board seems vital. It's a surprise that 19-year-veteran, Jamal Crawford, is still available on the free agent market. Crawford hasn't hit the rocking chair quite yet, and the 2-way guard needs another shot on a title contender.
One of Boston's few weaknesses has been exposed, and it may be time for Ainge to act and repair it sooner rather than later.
Photos used are courtesy of Boston Globe & Getty Images