Back-to-back triple doubles don’t mean a thing when the Boston Celtics lose both games. Rajon Rondo is having an impressive statistical season, but that doesn’t mean he’s not part of the problem(s) causing the Celtics to lose six games in a row and fall three games below .500.
There’s the problem with playing on the road: The Celtics are only 7-14 away from the TD Garden, the worst road record among the top 8 teams in the East, while their home record doesn’t suggest (13-9) complete dominance as well.
There’s the Paul Pierce problem. Rajon Rondo might be the most important players the Celtics have, but he’s not going to win basketball games on his own, not even close. The performance he gave against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals didn’t win them the game then, and it’s not coming back any time soon. The Celtics need both Pierce and Garnett to contribute like they’re a tad younger from what they really are, and for the both of them to play well in the same game hasn’t happened in a while.
Pierce is going through something: After scoring 12 points in 40 minutes on another awful shooting night (4-13 from the field), he’s averaging only 13.8 points and 32.9% from the field through the last five games. With that kind of form, even Kevin Garnett scoring 24 points on his 38 minutes doesn’t help.
Not when Brandon Bass looks like a fade, and scores 0 points in 19 minutes on the floor; not when Jared Sullinger, one of the key components during the Celtics’ winning streak that seems to have happened to a different team in a different life time also doesn’t score during his 24 minutes on the floor. Too many players not getting involved, and not adding what they should, and the game falls on the shoulders of the same three guys, with two of them finding it harder and harder to contribute on a regular basis.
And sometimes, well just sometimes, it feels like maybe Rondo isn’t up for the kind of responsibility asked from him. Maybe he’s not Chris Paul in his basketball level, because numbers show that the Celtics’ offense is just as efficient with him on the floor than it is when he’s on the bench. Because with his 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, came 6 turnovers, and he needed a full 45 minutes to get those numbers. The -20 on his =/- isn’t too flattering as well.
Doc Rivers and his players keep talking about how they’re not doing the job they should – not having the right mindset for 48 minutes, letting their foot off the gas; cliches. The truth is that the Celtics aren’t a good enough team to make it all about them. It’s just as much about their opponents, who needed Kyle Korver to have a 27 points, 8-12 from three night to come back from 27 points behind and win 123-111 in double overtime. No longer a tough group of veterans who can lock down the paint and the basket for long minutes. One of the worst in the NBA when it comes to rebounding as well. Not very tough.
Just a team lost when it comes to their old identity, searching for it again, but maybe, just maybe, getting closer to realize they aren’t that good anymore, without the right kind of player to dig themselves out of the hole.