Maybe Kevin Garnett has the answer to what’s been going on with the Boston Celtics this season, and especially during their latest California road trip. The reason why guys came back is because of what we built here and that we are known to defend. For some reason, we’ve gotten away from that. So we’re going to have to go back to our origins to figure it out.
Fact: The Boston Celtics, a team that made the Eastern conference finals last season, dragging the Miami Heat to 7 games, are only 14-16. They’ve lost three games in a row, four out of five and seven of the last nine. Their losses since their Christmas win over the Brooklyn Nets are by an average of 23 points, with the Celtics averaging only 85.3 points while shooting a terrible 39.3% from the field.
Doc Rivers preached and preached during the offseason to his players that there’s still some NBA title material left. Despite the aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Despite the departure of Ray Allen. He was mostly talking to the younger or newer guys, quite a lot of them on the roster. He kept saying that they might be slower than the Miami Heat, but they are a smarter team and a tougher one as well. That doesn’t seem to be happening too often on the court.
After losing 95-83 to the Brooklyn Nets in late November, Rivers challenged his players mental strength, attitude and toughness. They answered back with an impressive win over Portland, but that was that. No continuity, no consistency, with Rajon Rondo or without him. The Celtics just can’t seem to get consecutive wins together, and now even one looks pretty tough.
Winning is hard. I don’t know if all our guys get that. You have to play hard to win an NBA game. One game. It’s difficult and we’re not doing it.
Sure, there are the injury problems. Avery Bradley was supposed to make great progress this season while Ray Allen began his pension plan in Miami, but an injury has kept the talented guard all season. Not just his offensive abilities, but the Celtics, like the defensive numbers show, need more aggression. Bradley is that kind of guy. Jason Terry, for all of his offensive talents, just doesn’t complement the grand scheme of stopping teams that well.
While Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce weren’t the guys to worry about, and they aren’t, there are just too many problems on this roster; too many guys not stepping up. Jeff Green, the man the Celtics have been waiting for to show up for quite some time was a big part of their plans in the preseason. He did score 16 points against the Kings, but he shot 5-17 from the field. He’s averaging only 9.8 points while shooting 41.1% from the field, and not bringing the kind of difference off the bench, along with Jason Terry who became a starter, he was supposed to.
What about Rajon Rondo? He finished with an abysmal two points against the Sacramento Kings. Those 10 assists mean less and less when Rondo doesn’t do what Rivers wants him so badly to – be a bit more selfish, and try to take more offensive and scoring responsibilities That attitude and aspect of his game comes out quite rarely. He’s been inconsistent, and after every game of 20 points or close to that he has to follow up with sub par shooting and even decision making as a passer.
The Celtics didn’t have a great regular season in 2012, and that didn’t stop them from making an impressive playoff run. It still seems so disappointing to see a team so proud of their defense and all those “toughness” attributes become such an easy pray for soft, even bad teams. Doc Rivers thought his coaching job was going to be a tad easier this season, turning out to be a much bigger challenge than anyone expected.