Ainge standing pat with current Celtics . . . for now

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Ainge standing pat with current Celtics . . . for now

The rest of Celtics Nation may be hitting the panic button and calling for a major shakeup, but the man with the power to do something isn't.

Danny Ainge is sticking by his team, even if they aren't doing anything to make him look good right now.

The Celtics fell to 14-17 on the season after a 93-83 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday night. That, of course, came after a disastrous west coast trip in which the Celtics were smoked by the Clippers, Warriors, and Kings. Yes, the Kings.

"Well I think our team is not playing well, obviously, but I see some good signs," Ainge told WEEI on Thursday. "I thought last night was a step forward. We don't have moral victories, but I thought our effort was better. We're still out of sync offensively. I think defensively has been the biggest problem throughout the course of the year, but last night I think our problems came more with the halfcourt offense.

Ainge is right; the defense has, in a word, stunk. Boston is giving up an average of 97.9 points per game this season (17th in the NBA), 8.6 points more than the 89.3 they allowed last season (2nd in the NBA). He feels that while the defense hasn't been up to par, "that can be fixed with attitude and health and practice time. I really do believe that."

Pressed further to touch upon Rajon Rondo's defense specifically, Ainge mentioned that he's like more consistency, but wasn't about to point a finger only at Rondo.

"I think that Rondo needs to get more consistent effort defensively like all of our guys," Ainge said. "I always hate to pinpoint one guy, but the ball at the point of attack is huge for us, and Rondo has a lot of offensive responsibility. But I do think we need to give a better effort all around, not just Rondo."

That means the starters as well as the revamped bench. Nobody, except maybe the rookie Jared Sullinger, has played up to Ainge's standards this season.

"For whatever reason, I'm not sure if they're incapable or not, or if they can't physically, but time will tell. The reality of it is that they haven't. And it's not just the new guys. I don't think that the veteran guys who have been here have played to the best of their capabilities either."

So does that mean Ainge is ready to shake things up as he's done in the past? Not quite. We may not see the same starting lineup in the next few games, but we'll most likely see the same players. With Avery Bradley back, Ainge wants to give it a shot.

"We're just looking at what we're capable of becoming," Ainge said. "I think we haven't found the right pieces. I think that Doc is probably going to tweak the lineup again and try to do some things different. We'll just try to be patient with this team as long as we can."

I think it's up to the players now. I think that Doc has certainly given them the right words and the right tools to play better. I think these next couple weeks are going to be huge to see where we are. We're starting to get healthy. I think that Rondo is still not healthy. I think he's played the last few games banged up and we're not the same when he's not 100 percent. And that's clear."

It's also clear that time is running out for this Celtics team that needs to prove it belongs together, or face the consequences of underachieving.

Red Sox place Chris Young on DL, recall Bryce Brentz

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Red Sox place Chris Young on DL, recall Bryce Brentz

To no one's surprise, the Red Sox have placed outfielder Chris Young -- who collapsed Thursday on the basepaths after suffering a severe right hamstring strain and had to be helped off the field -- on the 15-day disabled list.

The team recalled outfielder Bryce Brentz from Pawtucket as a replacement. Brentz will be with the Sox tonight in Texas when they open a six-game road trip.

Young had taken over as the Sox' everyday left fielder after a concussion forced Brock Holt to the DL, and was hitting .277 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI in 130 at-bats. He had played so well that manager John Farrell talked of moving Holt back to his infield-outfield, super-utility role when he returns and giving Young a large portion of the playing time in left.

Now, however, he appears to be facing a lengthy absence and Holt, who's been on a rehab assignment with the PawSox, may once again take over as the primary left fielder.

Brentz, who last played for in the Red Sox in September 2014, played 12 games at Double-A Portland this year before being sent back to Pawtucket. He has a combined average of .261 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI in 184 at-bats. Brentz was the Red Sox' No. 1 draft choice in 2010.