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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for December: 16. Boston Celtics

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of December 31st):  14-16,  third place Atlantic Division




13

This Month:


16

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of December 31st))
  • Points Scored: 95.9 (17th)
  • Points Allowed: 98.1 (17th)
  • Team FG%: .461 (6th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .455 (20th)
  • Rebounds per game: 38.5 (30th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 42.8 (21st)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.5 (10th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 15.4 (7th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of December 31st)
  • Scoring (ppg): Paul Pierce (19.9)
  • Rebounds per game:  Kevin Garnett (7.0)
  • Minutes per game: Rajon Rondo (37.7)
  • Assists per game: Rajon Rondo (11.6)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Kevin Garnett (.519)
  • Steals per game: Rajon Rondo (2.0)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Kevin Garnett (0.7)

Worst Player of the Month: Jason Terry


When the signed him as an unrestricted free agent, the Boston Celtics had envisioned Jason Terry to be that offensive spark off the bench as he was when playing for the Dallas Mavericks.  Unfortunately, it seems as if Father Time has crept up on the once dead eye sharp shooter as Terry's number has dropped to career lows.  February saw Terry really struggle with his shooting as he shot an abysmal .379 from the field and with only averaging a little over, eleven points per game, he was neither that dependable or efficient from the field.  Due to the Celtics rather disappointing performance on the perimeter, Terry has also been forced to play more minutes than anticipated further wearing him down as the season progresses.  What has happened to Terry is reflective of the current situation of the Celtics--old, washed up and on the way out. 
First Player of the Month: Jeff Green


Despite missing all of last season due to a heart ailment, it seems as if Jeff Green has not missed a step.  He had a rather productive December as he had markedly improved  from his November numbers of 8.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game to 11.4 and 3.9 per game.  His most noticeable improvement was his efficiency from the charity stripe where it spiked from .757 in November to .853 in December.   It is certainly to early to tell whether Green has star potential or not, but he has certainly proved Celtics GM Danny Ainge right for signing him to that four year 36$ million extension that raised quite a few eyebrows to say the least.  What was once considered quite a risky venture proved to be a solid investment as Jeff Green had thus far been living up to his end of the bargain coming off the bench while giving a solid contribution every time he has stepped on the court.  

Analysis:

The Boston Celtics had started the season quite impressively finishing the month of November with a solid 9-7 record and remained in striking distance of the Atlantic Division crown; however, then December happened which sent the Celtics reeling from being a middle of the pack playoff team to barely clinging on to reaching the post season.  It started well enough with the Celtics winning three of their first five games to start December, but then their fortunes took a terrible turn as they would lose seven of their next nine games thus finishing the month with a 5-9 record and entered the new year two games under .500.  And it was not just the fact that the Celtics lost nine of their fifteen games in December, but in the manner in which they lost as of the nine losses in which they suffered, six of them were by rather large margins.  To put it bluntly, Boston did not simply just lose, but also embarrassed themselves and their fans by being literally steamrolled upon as their opponents simply had way with them.  

In their nine loses, the Celtics lost by an average margin of 12.1 points as they were outscored 101.6 to 89.0 while allowing their opponents to simply scorch them on the field as they were out-shot .473 to .413.  Their first two loses were not so bad as they had lost to the Milwaukee Bucks by just three points (12/1/2012) and by only one in overtime against the Philadelphia 76ers (12/7/2012). Those losses were then followed by Boston winning two straight, avenging their previous loss to the Sixers on their home court (12/8/2012) and barely slipping past the Dallas Mavericks by just two points in overtime (12/12/2012).  Unfortunately they could not carry on the momentum of those two wins as the Celtics went on the road dropping three straight rather disconcertingly to the Houston Rockets (12/14/2012), followed by the San Antonio Spurs (12/15/2012) and the Chicago Bulls (12/18/2012).  Boston managed to somewhat redeem themselves by bouncing back with a solid three game stretch where they handily beat the Cleveland Cavaliers (12/19/2012) and division rival Brooklyn Nets (12/25/2012) while narrowly losing once again to the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime (12/21/2012); however, that was followed by three rather shameful displays as they were consecutively blown out by the L.A Clippers (12/27/2012), Golden State Warriors (12/29/2012), and of all teams, the lowly and dysfunctional Sacramento Kings (12/30/2012).

Such a feeble performance would have any true blue Celtics fan to either hang their heads in shame or to just simply hang themselves as they watched their once mighty Celtic squad to simply allow itself to be violated in such a publicly degrading fashion.  They simply looked tired, listless and were just simply broken by teams that they would have not dared to allow themselves to be beaten in the rather brutal way that they did.  One can argue that the first two loses could have swung either way and if the ball would have bouned their way, the Celtics' situation would not be as dire.  The same can be said for that overtime loss to Milwaukee four days before Christmas as a win would have kept the Celtics somewhat respectable with their record being one game over .500.  Unfortunately that did not happen and even Celtics fans have to scratch their heads on how their team could allow a 76er team that shoot an abysmal .374 from the field to come back and beat them in overtime as well as getting beaten not once, but twice to a supposedly lesser in the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thus far, the Celtics have resembled that old rust bucket used car that we all had in our youth that was passed on from one hand to another.  Despite the puffing and weezing, the engine still managed to run and the cars still got us to where we needed to go, but then came the time when it just got harder to start the cars, especially in the winter and finally, after numerous tries, the car simply can no longer start.  Sure, you try fixing it by sending it to the repair shop and the mechanics would replace one worn out piece after the other; however, sooner or later, the cost of repairs soon far outweigh the value of the car and the insurance that goes with it, and it is time to finally let the old steel death trap go.  The Celtics could have simply just sent their old, rusty jittering wreck of a team simply fall apart by allowing Kevin Garnett to part ways any simply while focusing on the future by simply allowing Paul Pierce's contract to expire and simply move on.  The team could and should have just taken that one or two season hit missing the playoffs and a temporary drop in the standings in turn for the long term benefit of rebuilding for the future.

Instead of using common sense and having the foresight to break up and already crumbling foundation, the front office chose to not only keep the junk heap it currently has, but to extend the lease on it for three more years thus ensuring it to be stuck with a useless hunk of rusty metal and burnt out rubber.  Anyone in their right mind could have realized that last season was the best the Celtics could have ever done and that it was time to call it an end.  They spent all of last season scratching and clawing throughout trying to keep their heads above water, and if it were not by the lucky coincidence of the Philadelphia 76ers tanking in the end, Boston probably would not have won their fifth straight Atlantic Division title.  They certainly would have not made it past the Conference Semis if they had faced a full strength Chicago Bulls team instead of a far less talented Philadelphia team which took the Celtics all seven games to eliminated and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat in which they would inevitably lose to.  Now all the Celtics and their fans do is watch their classic vintage car that they so admired such lie still and continue to rust and fall apart.