Blakely: Celtics can't do anything right

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Blakely: Celtics can't do anything right

PHILADELPHIA On most nights, it's pretty easy to figure out what goes wrong in a loss.

Rebounding is a good place to start. Defensive breakdowns is a go-to explanation. The schedule, fatigue, playing a desperate team on the road . . . there's a ton of 'em.

How about all the above?

That's pretty much what the Boston Celtics were a victim of on Wednesday, as everything that seemingly could go wrong for the C's, did.

And that led to a lopsided 103-71 loss to Philadelphia.

"We missed a ton of open shots," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett, all of them, we just missed shot after shot. Everything was front-rim. We tried to go zone. We tried to press. We tried to go small. Nothing was working."

Not only were the C's crushed, but in the process, so went their shot at over-taking the Sixers (23-17) for the best record in the Atlantic Division.

After most games, there's usually something of value that the Celtics can take away from the performance.

Wednesday's loss?

Not so much.

"It was one of them you just throw away," said Paul Pierce. "You don't even go back to it, reference it, nothing. Just throw this one away."

Although the Celtics try their best to stay clear of making excuses following losses, there's no way to ignore the impact of the C's having played back-to-back overtime games had on Wednesday's outcome.

Rivers wouldn't say for sure that his team was fatigued, but "it came down to a lot of things, and that was one of them."

Rajon Rondo, who had five points and eight assists, was already working on putting Wednesday's beatdown out of his head, and instead look forward to Friday's opponent, Portland.

As badly as the Celtics played, there's nothing they can do about it now but try to move on and not have any more games like that this season.

"The season is the way it is," Rondo said. "We get one day off. We got a fourth game coming up Friday, so just try to get over the hump and get a win before we go out to the West coast."

After Friday's home game against Portland, Boston will head out West for five straight road games (at Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Golden State, Sacramento and Denver) and continue their road trek with road games at Atlanta, Milwaukee and back in Philadelphia on March 23.

Drellich: Devers is a keeper, even with the addition of Nunez

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Drellich: Devers is a keeper, even with the addition of Nunez

BOSTON -- The cherub stays.

There's no way Rafael Devers is headed back to Triple-A before the homestand starts Friday, right, Dave Dombrowski? Not for the newly acquired Eduardo Nunez, who's a fine player but has nowhere near the offensive upside of Devers, the 20-year-old phenom you just rushed to the big leagues.

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You probably weren't really considering sending Devers straight back, were you now, Dave? Sometime in the 3 o'clock hour Eastern time on Wednesday morning (after a 13-inning, 6-5 loss to the Mariners), you did tell reporters in Seattle that you would need to sit down with manager John Farrell to figure out the plan at third base from here.

Likely, you're just making sure your ducks are in a row. That Nunez himself has a chance to shake hands with you, and gets to hear straight from you what he'll be doing.

That's fair. But let's be doubly sure we're on the same page.

As long as something else doesn't happen between now and then -- no other trades for third basemen, no injuries -- Devers must at least platoon at third unless he shows he can't handle it. Nunez bats right, Devers left.

But it wouldn't be crazy to let Devers have the bulk of the playing time, either, and use Nunez to spell Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia. Or simply have him come off the bench.

Devers didn't look overmatched in his very first big-league game Tuesday night. On the contrary, he was patient at the plate, drawing the walk that started a sixth-inning rally against Felix Hernandez. (King Felix is quite the draw for a someone making his major-league debut, we should note.) He looked like a happy kid, and sounded like one after the game.

"For me it's just going out there and playing my brand of baseball and having fun out there," Devers told reporters through translator Daveson Perez. "That's what I was trying to do and I think I did that."

Devers finished 0-for-4 with a pair of walks, one strikeout and a run scored. He didn't make any errors and looked smooth and quick, his athleticism shining through some baby fat.

Dombrowski spoke during the last homestand about the lack of league-norm production at third base. Nunez can bring that, if nothing more. He is, at a position that's had no certainty, some form of certainty. A stable piece that can help out around the infield and has valuable versatility.

But Nunez is not what the Sox need most: A bopper.

Devers has pop. The chances he blossoms this year are not in his favor because he is the youngest player in the majors. But it would be a most strange and almost cruel choice to call the kid up for two days and then decide you don't need him because of Nunez, who entered Tuesday with the same OPS as Mitch Moreland (.745).

If you're the glass-is-half-full-type, the first four-game losing streak of the season for the Red Sox was numbed by a third-base situation that's been upgraded twofold. Let's assume the Sox know how to best deploy the two from here -- in the big leagues together, until shown a reason to change course.