Kendrick Perkins sends ominous message on Boston Celtics' fatal flaw

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Kendrick Perkins sees the over-reliance on 3-pointers and the team's bad habit of relying on hero-ball at the ends of games as the potentially fatal flaw the Boston Celtics must reckon with after a bad loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 25 at the State Farm Arena.

“When you look at this recipe and they continue to shoot threes, the ball continues to get staggered, and especially when they’re in close games this is a habit,” Perkins said on the March 26 edition of ESPN’s “NBA Today" (h/t NESN). “And teams are looking at them and saying, ‘You know what? If we do those things, we actually could beat them,’ and they do not fear the Boston Celtics.”

Kristaps Porzingis called out the Cs for their lack of urgency against Atlanta; something that was exemplified by the team largely shying away from banging in the paint on post-ups like they did in the first half and the pinging of the ball around the perimeter with no rhyme or reason as the Hawks mounted their comeback.

"Maybe too much (confidence) a little bit, maybe we need to sometimes have a little bit more urgency," Porzingis told reporters postgame (h/t NBC Sports Boston). "But of course we're a confident team because of what we have shown, and we expect to win every game. It's a slip-up for us, letting this game slip out of our hands. But I like that we have some bumps heading into the postseason.

"It’s the NBA, these kinds of things happen. We just don’t want to make it a habit and it hasn’t been a habit for us. We slipped one game, and we did relax a little bit and we paid the price.”

Boston Celtics cannot carry bad habits into postseason

Boston had clinched the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed the day of the 30-point blown lead against the Trae Young-less Hawks, so in many ways, that 120-118 loss in A-Town was a trap-game. Still, losing focus in such an alarming way is not something the team can let happen anymore until Banner 18 is raised from the TD Garden rafters.

Returning Jrue Holiday from a dead arm injury would do wonders for the team's defense, but even the return of Derrick White's facilitation would solve a lot of the team's offensive malaise issues. With that, there'd be fewer minutes for players who have had a tough time earning them this season, like Oshae Brissett and Svi Mykhailiuk. Jaden Springer's minutes cannot be criticized.

Whatever the cure, whether it be rotation returns or more set plays, this kind of performance cannot happen again over the next few months.

If it does, the lesson was clearly not learned.