Bad Times Never Seemed So Bad

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Bad Times Never Seemed So Bad

OK, so last night was bad.

With their loss to Memphis, the Celtics have now dropped four straight games for only the fourth time in the Kevin Garnett era. One more loss will tie the "era" record, and with the way things are going, the Cs are a good bet to match that mark and beyond.

First of all, because the team is in shambles. While the return of Avery Bradley will certainly help the situation, the Celtics wont be all that they can be until:

a) Rondo is healthy: Not that he was playing particularly well at 100 percent, but as of now, the injury (or injuries) are holding him back. And in turn, holding the Celtics back.

andor

b) They find some help for Kevin Garnett.

And by that, I mean that they trade for a big guy. Right now? Eh, maybe they wait until January 15, when both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass are eligible to be dealt. But either way, the Celtics have four shooting guards and one big man. I understand Danny wanting to be patient, but while he waits, Garnett is taking a beating, both mentally and physically. And when it comes to games like last night, against a team like Memphis, with two dominant low post figures, the Celtics are just out-matched.

We've heard the names that might be available: Marcin Gortat, Jason Thompson, J.J. Hickson seem to be the most realistic. Pau Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins are both out there but I can't see either trade going down. And then there's Kenyon Martin, still sitting at home; Chris Andersen, doing whatever it is the Birdman does. There are options for Danny Ainge and until he takes action, the Celtics can't tap their full potential.

Another reason the losses might continue to pile up? The schedule.

It starts on Friday, when they host the surging Pacers, winners of eight of their last 10 and owners of the second best defensive rating in the NBA.

The next night, the Celtics head to Atlanta for their first meeting with the Hawks, who have won five of six and trail Miami by only two games in the race for Easts No. 1 seed.

After a day off, theyll be in NYC on Monday, for their first meeting with the revamped Knicks, now with more Amare Stoudemire. That's three straight games against three of the best teams in the conference not exactly the antidote for what ails a team like the Celtics . . .

Unless it is?

After all, this is a team that's always made a habit of playing up to the competition, right?

Then again, what is this team? Who is this team? Are they anything like those teams of old or is it Rondo, Bradley, an aging Pierce and Garnett and a bunch of secondary pieces that just don't fit?

The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, and we'll have a much better grasp next week, once the Celtics escape from New York.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”