My prescription for curing the Boston Celtics would definitely not include an away matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, sans Rajon Rondo. No, that would be just about the last thing I’d suggest. But the Hawks are what the schedule gods have prepared for Boston, even if it’s not the best time for the C’s to play a team that has their number.
A lot of things must change, tonight. Here are a few of them:
Unit Number Two
At the top of my long list of recommended changes would be the bench. Yes, it seemed like the whole team offered nothing more than a half-assed effort yesterday. But when you look a little more closely, the starters actually did a decent job.
Each starter finished with a positive plus/minus. Of the starting five, only Ray Allen’s +3 was in single digits. The rest spanned from Shaq (+11) to Nate Robinson (+20). So yes, as I said, the starters actually offered legitimate minutes. They started the game off splendidly, held their own at the beginning of the second half (yes, I know “holding their own” is no good against Toronto), then put the clamps on in the final nine minutes or so of the final stanza. Yes, they also fell apart in the last half minute. But the Ray Allen turnover was more fluke than reason for worry, no?
While the starters were decent, the bench was, in a word, horrendous. In two words, [bleeping] horrendous.
Semih Erden played 11 minutes without making a single meaningful contribution,Delonte West looked far from the hero we expect him to be, and Marquis Daniels was in “not really making any type of impact” mode. Only Glen Davis provided meaningful play off the bench, and he finished with a not-so-shining plus/minus of -19. Of course, that’s not all his fault. It’s tough to play with a unit that, so far, has drastically underachieved.
The bench was supposed to be “The Boston Bench Mob.” This was supposed to be the deepest bench the Celtics have had, maybe in the franchise’s history. Instead, the second unit has been “The Boston Bench Blah.”
Maybe that’s because of injuries. Maladies to Perk, Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal and, now, Rondo certainly haven’t helped. But this team was supposed to be deep enough to survive the inevitable rash of injuries. It hasn’t shown any evidence of that so far. The West addition could prove pivotal, even though the bench is now 1-for-3 in games he has played.
The C’s rebounding woes of last season were supposedly fixed. Umm, look again. The Celtics have now been outrebounded in four of their last five games. For the season, they have grabbed only 49.8% of all rebounds — or, in other words, the C’s have snagged fewer caroms than their opponents.
It’s time to box out, fellas. Even without Perk and Jermaine O’Neal, the Celtics have plenty of size. They should probably use it.
Why have the Celtics lost to the Thunder (without Durant) and the Raptors (without anyone important)? Because the C’s have been lollygaggers.
They lollygag around the paint. The lollygag to contest (or not contest) shooters. They lollygag until they’re down ten points and only a few minutes remain.
Do you know what that makes them?
What’s their record? 9-4.
How’d they even win nine? It’s a miracle.
This is a simple game. You dribble the ball, you pass the ball, you rebound the ball, you score the ball, and you defend the ball. You got it?
So stop lollygagging, Celtics. The Hawks have a tendency of kicking your ass. I suggest you take your collective head out of your collective ass and start playing Celtics basketball again.