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.
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.