By A.Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON In Boston's 90-87 loss to Memphis Wednesday night, Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't at all pleased with his team's late-game execution offensively.
Truth be told, Boston's late-game gaffes offensively speak to what is becoming an unexpected problem: The Celtics can't score.
When you consider the number of future Hall of Famers the Celtics have, the fact that most of them rank among the NBA's all-time greatest scorers, the idea that they're struggling to score across the board, is puzzling.
Look at the numbers.
Boston came into Wednesday's game ranked 21st in the NBA in scoring, with a 97.1 points-per-game average.
That total has only been reached once by the Celtics in their last 10 games, the kind of scoring drought that speaks volumes about how the C's are in a scoring slump that isn't limited to just one or two players.
"But it hasn't been all year," coach Doc Rivers said of his team's shooting slump. "So, it happens. It's something you get through. But we've got to get through it."
When looking to place blame, Rajon Rondo is an easy target.
He's the team's starting point guard and missed a potential game-winning shot on Wednesday.
But Rivers is quick to tell you that when it comes to placing the blame for the team's recent struggles scoring, it all starts with him.
"Then after that, it starts with the whole team," he said.
Still, Rondo is the most likely Celtic to guide the C's through their recent struggles with his ability to find players in position to score with relative ease.
One of those players Rondo probably needs to look for more in the coming games, is Paul Pierce.
Against the Grizzlies, Pierce had a game-high 22 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field.
You love the efficient manner in which Pierce went about scoring, but on nights when the Celtics can't find any kind of steady rhythm offensively, Pierce is usually the go-to guy who can get them over the hump.
"You know, listen, I think as a whole, our team, we've got to get back to understanding . . . Paul is pretty good," Rivers said. "And he's got to get more touches in games. We go back and fourth on movement and we want that, but we've also got to get Paul involved. That's on me; I've got to get Paul involved more."
Another tweak the Celtics can make offensively is to simplify the team's various schemes down the stretch in close games.
"We have to have more consistency in what we're calling, play-calling," Rondo said. "We have to have a couple of bread-and-butter plays, not four or five different plays. We need to narrow it down to two or three at the most."