Brad Stevens gives Celtics a reality check after loss to Knicks

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens has tried looking at silver linings as well as calling out his team for effort and toughness issues after losses this season. On Wednesday night, after an ugly 117-109 loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA, the head coach took a different approach in his postgame press conference. He got real about where his 9-9 Celtics are at and the uncertainty that lies ahead.

"I just don’t know that we’re that good,” Stevens said. “Maybe it’s not a wakeup call if you keep getting beat. We have to play better. It’s not because we’re not capable of being good. It’s not because we weren’t good at one time in our lives. It’s you're good if you play good and the results are speaking for themselves.”

A team with title aspirations finds itself tied for the bottom playoff spot in the Eastern Conference nearly 25 percent through the regular season. Talented teams have gotten off to slow starts before (the 2010-11 Miami Heat started 9-8 before running off 12 straight wins) but certain efforts, like the one we saw on Wednesday night, resemble a team that shows no true signs of progress or consistency on a nightly basis. Consistency is the hallmark of a good basketball team and that’s something that Brad Stevens has been unable to pull out of this group over 18 games.

The hosts showed signs of life in the second half after falling into a 26-point hole in the second quarter but the inability to stay competitive for 48 minutes (double-digits deficits in eight of the last nine games) is a true sign of where this team is at right now.