By By Travis H. Singleton, BASN sports writer
Updated: February 26, 2012
BOSTON, MA. (BASN)—Coming into the season everyone and their mother knew that the Celtics needed that extra time to rest up for the 2011-2012 season. What people didn’t know is how the lack of training camps and preseason games would affect the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics had started off the season missing Paul Pierce with an heel injury which lead to the Celtics starting off on a bad foot losing the first three games of the short season. As the games kept rolling along the Celtics started winning games but, they weren’t winning against playoff teams majority of the games that the Celtics were winning were against under .500 teams that were struggling as well. It wasn’t until the Celtics beat Orlando Magic on January 23rd that they beat a potential playoff contender, that’s close to a whole month without beating someone with a winning record.
The Celtics started to find their identity after beating the Magic back to back as they found the team chemistry and started playing Celtics basketball. The Celtics went on to win 9 out of the next 10 games which is very impressive especially with all the injuries that they had to over come with Wilcox,Keyon Dooling,Rondo and the list goes on.
I believe that the Celtics haven’t had their actually starting line up in the season and Doc Rivers is one of the best when it comes to strategizing what he has to do to get people to play better and play smarter when that situation is in front of him. After doing so well in a stretch of games the Celtics played the Lakers and lost in a nail bitter that I believe changed the teams atmosphere because, they lost to the Lakers 88-87 in overtime and it looked as if the Celtics were tired and didn’t have any gas left in the tank.
After the Lakers loss the Celtics seemed to be playing flat and not playing together at all. The Celtics went on to lose 6 of their last 7 games before All-Star break and are currently on a 5 game losing streak. The Celtics were playing good but were getting hurt in the paint and on hustling for loose balls and also rebounding.
The Celtics are a veteran team and know what they have to do when they need too usually but this go around the Celtics players look a bit run down and tired. The Big Three are getting older by the minute and you could just see in the OKC Thunder game on wednesday that they didn’t have the gas in the car to run with the young but talented Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as they averaged an 18 point lead throughout the game.
Heading into this All-Star break the Celtics have done their job they have been playing their game the thing about the Celtics is it’s time for the management to do their part and provide the help the Celtics need to get back to the promise land and keep up with these younger teams. This is probably going to be the “Big Three’s” last go around after this season and Danny Ainge is in a tough spot right now in a city that is so spoiled with winning lately in every sport.
In my opinion I believe the Celtics should of went after Kenyon Martin or J.R Smith to increase there bench a lot more for the second unit. Martin would of brought them the rebounding and toughness that the Celtics are lacking in the paint and Smith would of brought you instant offense which would of gave the Celtics more options for the second unit then just Brandon Bass.
I also believe that the Celtics should blow up the roster to try to surround it around Rondo because, he has been running the team on the court and is a one man fast break if we get some youth that has instant talent to run with him that would be great. The Celtics need to rebuild sooner than later but, with the “Big Three” at least we know they will fight until that buzzer goes off. The Celtics as a whole need to realize that the glory days with the “Big Three” could come to an end and I know they would want to get talent for them if they can now so they can go after the championship or wait until free agency next year and try to get Dwight or Williams from the Nets.
The Celtics Grading System
Danny Ainge (President of Basketball Operations) - I give Ainge an C- for the first half of the season, getting Bass from Orlando for Glen Davis was a great move but, I feel in order to compete with the youth of the league you have to get more youth that have experience to play with the “Big Three”. Adding players like Battier and David West would have us in a great position right now. Also I believe if he would of tried to get J.R Smith or Kenyon Martin that can help our bench out. After the Perkins trade I really question what his goal is for the team long term and if he wants that to be winning and not like the season before the “Big Three”. The league is changing for the better and I assume that during or after the All-Star break that Danny would do the same because, the Celtics need help inside badly.
Glen “Doc” Rivers (HeadCoach) – Doc deserves an B+/A- because he is not the one making decisions he is just the one putting faith into the players that are given to him and making them play to the best ability. KG has said it the best he said “We trust Doc and have trust in his system” when a player of KG’s caliber say’s something like that it speaks volumes about how good a head coach is. When they play for Doc it’s like they all are buddies hanging out every second of their lives because, Doc gels their chemistry together and makes them play to another level some of the players don’t think they can. Just look at how he has managed minutes for vets and how he has used rookies Moore and Johnson mixed with a young but still fresh Bradley. His coaching job has been overlooked and he deserves some credit for his great job so far this first half of the season.
Boston Celtics Starters - The Celtics starting five are going to get an C from me because, they have the experience in tough games and know what it takes to win but the age is now getting to them as the youngest of that core is Rondo. The rest of the starting five are over 30+ years old. Ray Allen is still in shape and is still running around the court and making his shots so I’m not too concerned with him. It’s the legs of KG that I’m worried about because, ever since the “08″ season when he got hurt I feel like he became an outside scorer instead of banging with the bigs and trying to be aggressive.
I can definitely say that his shot has gotten even more better and he has hit the 3 ball but, I miss the old KG that would dunk on you and thats where the age comes in. Paul Pierce is getting up there in age but is still one of the most underrated players in our game today and I feel he can go toe to toe with any leading scorer on another team when he is up to the challenge.
Jermaine O’neal is aging too but is still playing good as an extra body to throw in there and he will hit his jumper on the pick and pop. Rajon Rondo has been the glue to the Celtics this season and also the team is his glue because, both need each other I believe the team will go as far as Rondo takes him and I know the trade rumors are out there but he has proven himself worthy of staying in Boston.
Boston Celtics Bench – The Celtics bench gets an B- from me because I feel when they come in the game with a starter like Rondo still in there they produce. Rondo has made Wilcox,Bass,Johnson and Pietrus feel at home and if you as me the bench players have been stepping up big time. No one expected Bass and Pietrus to gel with the team as much as they have and I myself was very impressed. Also the play of the point guards Moore and Bradley were huge while Rondo was out and it showed growth in both players because, they got more experience and also because, they got to see how it really is playing heavy minutes in the league. The play of Keyon Dooling has been huge too because, he is now getting in the swing of things after his injury. The bench has been very consistent without Jeff Green which is amazing and if they keep it up and play like this it will be one of the best benches in the league.