With trade deadline ahead, what will C's do?

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With trade deadline ahead, what will C's do?

DALLAS This is the predicament the Boston Celtics find themselves in now.

They have lost three ina row, six of the last seven, and are officially a below-.500 team.

There is no doubt there's a need - a strong need - to shake things up a bit.

But that desire has to be framed in the reality that the C's have had an unusually high number of injuries. That has been the biggest factor in the team's falling below .500, which happened in Monday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

While it remains to be seen what the Celtics will do between now and the March 15 deadline, coach Doc Rivers is pretty clear on where he stands on the matter.

"We're losing, number one, because we're not playing well; number two, because we are injured," Rivers said. "So, why shake things up if guys are injured? You've got to let them get healthy, if they can."

And with the players Boston has been missing due to injuries, most appear to not be suffering from potential season-ending injuries.

Jermaine O'Neal had to leave in the third quarter on Monday because of a left wrist injury. The 6-foot-10 veteran has been bothered by a lengthy list of injuries throughout his time with the Celtics. It is unclear if he'll be able to play Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Brandon Bass (left knee) and Chris Wilcox (groin) are also players dealing with injuries that aren't expected to keep them out too long. Bass is expected back in the lineup after the All-Star break. And Wilcox, who left the game in the third quarter on Monday because of a groin injury, isn't sure if he'll play against the Thunder.

If you see Rivers look the other way when crossing the path of the Celtics' team trainer, well, you can understand why.

Eye contact usually means talking will follow.

Talking generates conversation.

Conversation, at least these days when it comes to the Celtics, involves injury updates.

And the news on that front, especially this year, hasn't been very good.

That's why Rivers had no intention of approaching them following Boston's 89-73 loss at Dallas on Monday night, to inquire about the injuries to O'Neal and Wilcox.

"I'm scared to talk to the medical staff," Rivers said. "Because they don't really give you good news. So, I make them search me out for the most part."

O'Neal and Wilcox have both missed games earlier this year because of injuries. This latest round of injuries comes at a time when the C's roster continues to be decimated by one player after another, having to miss time due to an injury, a personal matter (Kevin Garnett) or a suspension (Rajon Rondo).

And the mounting injuries have certainly played a major role in the team's struggles this year.

While it's clear that a healthy Celtics team would in all likelihood do better than the squad we're seeing right now, don't think for a minute that that will stop C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge from trying to make a blockbuster trade.

"Danny is always going to look for trades," Rivers said. "You know who Danny is. But having said that, I don't think Danny is going to do anything crazy."

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.
 
 

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Greg Hardy, Chris Mannix, and Glenn Ordway discuss what the Celtics should have done before the trade deadline, and what they need to do in the offseason in order to reach the next level in playoffs.