Celtics' uneven play makes wins hard to come by

976693.jpg

Celtics' uneven play makes wins hard to come by

BOSTON One hole plugged, another springs a leak.
It has been that kind of season for the Boston Celtics.
The latest hole in the C's efforts to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference is the offense struggling while the defense steadily improves.
Such uneven play has made getting wins hard to come by, something the Celtics know all too well after dropping their fifth straight game this season, 89-86, to the New York Knicks.
It is only the third time since the 2008 championship season that the C's have lost five straight.
But what's more disturbing is that the two previous five-game losing skids came during last season's lockout-shortened season.
Limiting the Knicks, one of the league's highest scoring teams, to under 90 points is usually a recipe for success for the C's.
Boston came into Thursday's game 8-1 when holding opponents to 90 or fewer points.
"For some reason we are just not hitting our shots," said Kevin Garnett who was 3-for-9 against the Knicks. "The shots we usually take and are comfortable with. They're not going in, they're not falling for us. But it's just one thing after another man.
Garnett added, "we had problems on the defense, we really had to fix that. Got that under control a little bit now. You know on offense, we have to find ways to get some easy buckets. We've just got to keep going at this thing."
But with the losses continuing to mount, there has to be a growing concern that players will start pressing and trying to do too much offensively.
But that didn't seem to be the C's problem against New York.
While the Knicks' zone certainly gave the Celtics some problems, they still managed to get a lot of open to lightly contested shots both from the perimeter as well as on drives to the basket.
"We missed a lot of open shots," said C's head coach Doc Rivers. "But I don't think it's pressing. I just think we're missing shots."
And with those missed shots, the Celtics once again blew an opportunity to get a much-needed win.
Thursday's loss was especially hard to stomach when you consider that the Celtics did so many things right.
In fact, the only real issue they had was an inability to make shots.
"I like the way we competed tonight," said C's captain Paul Pierce. "We have got to do it night-in and night-out. Like I said, our offense has to get better. There's nights where our offense is really letting us down when we put this type of effort on defense in."

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup