Celtics frustrated as losses pile up

Celtics frustrated as losses pile up
February 25, 2014, 1:15 am
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Finding silver linings in defeat has become a way of life for the Boston Celtics.

But after losing 110-98 at Utah on Monday night, their fifth straight loss and fourth straight on the road to a Western Conference foe, players acknowledge that's becoming increasingly easier said than done.

Boston (19-39) came into this recently-completed West coast trip anticipating they could come away with a few victories with three of the four teams they faced  - Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento and Utah - were among the NBA's worst this season.

And yet there were the Celtics, coming up short in each instance as their road losing streak to teams out West now stands at 18 in a row.

"It's disappointing, it's very disappointing, frustrating," Boston's Rajon Rondo told reporters following Monday's loss in which he had 18 points and 10 assists.

Celtics forward Jeff Green, who had his third straight game of 20-plus points, echoed similar sentiments.

"We want to win. End of story," said Green who had 21 points against the Jazz. "To come out these four games and not get one, it's not fun but we gotta continue to try and get better and move forward."

Of course the Celtics had their share of positives on Monday, like Kelly Olynyk's 21 points and eight rebounds off the bench, or Jerryd Bayless chipping in with 13.

But the problem on Monday - actually all season - has been the Celtics' inability to have someone take control when the game is in toss-up mode.

Throughout the Celtics roster, you'll find players who have shown flashes of having that ability. But no one has emerged in doing that with any consistency, and it's unlikely to happen between now and the end of the season, either.

"You try to find a hot hand instead of every night (not) knowing where it's coming from," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

But as much as the Celtics need to learn from their mistakes of the past, there's nothing that can be done to change the past. That's why Stevens, while cognizant of the team's struggles in the past, keeps a keen eye of pushing forward in what has been and will continue to be, a trying season.

"We're trying to figure out how we can best handle these situations night-in and night-out," Stevens said. "And who can be the guys that can continue to perform at that level night-in and night-out. We got a lot of guys capable and (have) done it at times. But we'd all say we haven't done it consistent enough. That's why we're 19 and (39) ... it's not very good."