Overall, the Boston Celtics are 12-11. They are right in the middle, sitting in 15th place overall out of 30 teams. This is not the Celtic’s team that we have come to know and love. The season is just over 1/3rd of the way over, and we are not getting any better. The C’s, who are usually one of the better defensive teams, are allowing 97.9 PPG. This stat isn’t as bad as some, except for one fact: We aren’t scoring. We are only averaging 97.4 PPG. I’m no math wiz, but I’d say those numbers are going to have to improve if we want any chance to beat the big teams of the East this season (New York, Miami, Atlanta).
We don’t have an easy schedule coming up either. We play the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday, then come back home to play the Cav’s and Buck’s, both of which have shown that they can put up serious points. Then we take on the Net’s on Christmas, and the Clippers two days after that. Sitting just one game above .500, the C’s need to find a way to get some W’s.
The only consistent scorer this season has been Captain Paul Pierce, who is averaging 19.7 PPG. Rondo is scoring lower and lower each game, but if he can keep getting 12-15 assists per game, they should be okay. Garnett is shooting around 50% lately, but doesn’t play enough minutes to put up any serious numbers. Meanwhile, Jason Terry has been big off the bench, but still has not found his stroke on the 3-pointers, something we have been lacking since Ray Ray took his talents to South Beach.
The Celtics dropped two games this weekend, both against quality teams, and the games weren’t that close. On Friday night, The C’s lost to the Rocket’s 101-89 behind Harden’s 21 points and bench player Greg Smith’s 20 points. Paul Pierce played 41 minutes and was able to contribute 18 points, 7 rebounds, while everyone else seemed rather flat. Garnett put in 14, Rondo put in 15 and added 13 assists, but we were out played badly.
On Saturday night, they Green and White took on one of the best teams in the league, the San Antonio Spurs. For the first half, it looked like this would be a game. That ended about halfway through the third quarter. Garnett only put in 13, Rondo had 6 points, and failed to reach double digit assists with 9. Sullinger had a team high 7 rebounds off the bench, and Jason Terry had a huge first half and managed to score 18 points total, even though he slowed down significantly in the second half. Parker put in 22 for the Spurs while Gary Neal was able to score 20, as the Spurs improved to 19-6.
The best Christmas for any basketball fan yesterday was the return of the NBA. The only thing that could have made it better for Boston was watching the C’s come out of New York with a win. Unfortunately, we all know how that played out. Losing to the Knicks, especially with their all-star elf Spike Lee jumping up and down courtside, is always tough to swallow. But not all was lost in New York for the Celts. I think it’s safe to thank Danny Ainge for holding on to Rondo, even if he didn’t mean to. Throughout the short preseason, we could see improvement in Rondo’s shot and overall play, but yesterday he made a statement. His stats were amazing, with 31 points and 13 assists, while almost single handedly bringing the Celtics back into the game, but his aggressive manner and matured nature of play is what shone through the loss. With an aging team, Rondo is the key to the Celts this season. If he can continue to play like a first team all-star, the Celts are going to be alright this season. Not to mention having guys like Brandon Bass slip on a green and white uniform and make a statement of his own. He ended the day with 20 points and 11 rebounds, letting everyone know which team got the better deal in Orlando trade. Bass coming off the bench is going to prove to be a great addition to the Celtics squad, both offensively and defensively. Bring Pierce back and throw Mickael Pietrus into the mix, I think the C’s are going to be just fine.