Kevin Garnett seems
perplexed at the recent Celtics play
Many people, including myself, were initially inclined to think that the recent Celtics struggles could be attributed to the same reasons as the past couple seasons. Whether it was a lack of effort and consistent play or injuries there was always faith that they would turn it around like previous years. For a good portion of the season I was on that boat, this team wasn't built for the regular season but somewhere along the line something changed. There are trends with this team that you just can't shake and are quite frankly frightening. This seasons Celtics have significant holes that could lead to their demise. I've been all over Terry in past columns for his lack of consistent shooting and it's starting to become an issue. What initially was brushed off as getting used to a new offense now needs to be attributed with something else. Terry who used to be known for his big shots hasn't hit many in his time in Boston and quite frankly cost us a couple games with his misses. I'm not one to live and die by the three pointer but what made Ray Allen so good was that he always hit the big shot when we needed it. There's always that three pointer that can swing the momentum and help seal a game or help you get back into one but Terry has done nothing but miss them.
It might be wrong to solely blame one player but he was brought in fill the void left by Allen and personally I'm looking for him to do some of the things Allen brought to last years team. Harping on the teams shooting again this seasons team might be one of the least threatening the years past. The "specialists" aren't fulfilling their duties and nobody has stepped up to consistently spread the court out.
Playing Superman until further notice
Terry isn't the only one though, Courtney Lee has struggled mightily and the turning point isn't anywhere in sight. It seems that with Lee he isn't finding a comfort zone in the offense. Even in games that he's hit a couple shots to start off the team goes away from him, right or wrong, in turn stunting any rhythm he might be gathering. Green's inconsistency has been well documented while Bass's hasn't been much better himself. This team hasn't shown any similarities to Celtics team from a couple years ago, no longer do they have that big run to climb back into a game or the ability to play at a high level for a consistent period of time. We've seen some low points during past seasons but losing by at least 18 points in every game on the west coast trip is unparalleled. Mike Gorman pointed out it hadn't happened in over 35 years and theres no telling if this is the worst to come. Avery Bradley's return will play a role in helping the team swing things around but as a whole this could be the season the Celtics face their downfall. Waiting around for a trade that wont happen wont get this team far so instead the personal hear needs to fix the issues. In it's simplest forms the problems stem from poor defense in the backcourt leading the bigs to overcompensate and get burnt. With the bigs having to shuffle around we're more susceptible to giving up offensive boards. On offense the Celtics have become to dependent on Rondo and are hurting other players.
Paul Pierce feels the need to overcompensate for a lack of touches with inefficient isolation plays that hinder the flow of the offense. Terry was once a great pick and role player but is now running around through screens as if his jersey says Allen on the back. In Dallas he was the primary ball handler in the fourth quarter and his pick and roll offense with Dirk was as lethal as they come. Now he's been reduced to mimicking an offensive set designed for someone else. The only way this team can get better is by letting some of these guys be who they are. Doc the coach for a reason and he knows what he's doing but it's frustrating watching certain players playing like they have shackles on them.
Tonight's game is a definite trap game for fans, the media and the players. Memphis, my team to beat in the West, is struggling while Boston is returning home from a gruesome road trip. Avery Bradley will return and undoubtedly give the team an emotional lift. If the Celtics do pull out the win like they should it will be dubbed the turning point after a tumultuous trip but I'd be cautious to jump on the bandwagon. The team has a lot to prove before complete faith is restored in the players but for now it doesn't look like the things can get much worse.