BOSTON Injuries, players reporting out of shape and the new guys playing like, well, new guys.
You'd think someone had it in for the Boston Celtics with all those factors spiraling together in some wicked vortex that has them spinning out of control while dropping five in a row.
But the C's have apparently caught a break - we think - from the basketball gods this week. On the docket are not one, not two, but three games against teams that are struggling as much - or worst - than the Celtics.
Tonight's game will be against Toronto (4-10), losers of five in a row and a team that the C's have dominated for years. Boston has won at least three out of the four regular season meetings with the Raptors, in seven of the last eight seasons.
The lone exception during that span came during the 2006-2007 season, which was also the last time Boston lost five in a row. That year, the C's lost three of the four matchups with the Raptors.
Only 48 hours later, the Phoenix Suns (4-9) will ride into the Garden, currently saddled with a five-game losing streak.
And then there's Sunday's game at Washington (1-12), clearly the NBA's worst team which has just one victory to its credit all season.
The Celtics would love a win over all of those teams.
For now, the C's can't be greedy.
"All we need right now is just one win," said Celtics swingman Mickael Pietrus. "It can be against anybody, we just need that one win to get everybody regrouped and feel better."