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

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”