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The end is nigh, Nets beat Celtics

Feb 27, 2010, 3:41 PM EDT

rondo_towel.jpgEarlier, we told you of the sign that appeared in the Celtics’ locker room, proclaiming that individuals win games, but teams win championships.

Today, at least, the Boston Celtics were neither individuals nor teams, apparently.

The New Jersey Nets beat the Boston Celtics in Boston 104-96. This isn’t the end of the world for the Celtics, but you can see it from here. It’s too bad that a huge win for a struggling (to say the least) Nets team will be overlooked since it more evidently seems like rock-bottom for a Celtics team that is supposed to compete for if not win a title.

The isolated loss isn’t a problem. After all it’s still February, and that is not when championships are made. The problem is that today is indicative of the Celtics’ season. An uninspiring performance at home, following a disappointing loss to a rival at home, in a season plagued by injuries, inconsistency, and second-half collapses.

This thing is salvageable. To believe it’s not is to ignore their record and their talent. But the things which are necessary for a team that does not overwhelm with ability, as the Celtics fail to do, needs strong bench role support and phenomenal coaching.

Everyone forgets the thing line between Doc Rivers and a pink slip prior to the magical offseason that brought in the Big 3. And he certainly coached well in 2008, particularly in the Finals.

But the team is simply not responding to anything right now. It goes out, expects the same result it established in 2008, and then sulks when things like losing to the worst team in basketball happens.

This thing is salvageable, but it’s going to take a lot more than catchy slogans or the return of Paul Pierce for this team to reach the summit.

  1. Colin - Feb 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    No, its not salvageable… if the goal is to win the title.
    If the goal is to get healthy and make the ECF, then it MIGHT be salvageable. But this team isn’t winning a title

  2. susie smith - Feb 27, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    it is not the players, it is horrible coaching by rivers. he and his rotations and sub policies are the reason behind every loss this season. he has always been bad with this, but now he is giftwrapping games to opponents. he never played his starters in the 4th qtr ag. the cavs, cept for one min. his bench gave up the lead and he let them. today he played scal over tony allen coz allen had a great 2nd qtr. who plays scal for a whole qtr over anybody?! he did not put back in starters today till half of 4th qtr is gone and a 10+ deficit is there. robinson was a terrible trade. rivers needs to go. look at the games, it is the subs and when they are done. he also complains to refs always while other team’s guy is always coaching. rivers is terrible and needs to go. look at the stats. he does not want to win, fire him!!!!

  3. banner18 - Feb 27, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Susie, some of Doc’s micromanaging of players’ minutes is somewhat understandable because KG, PP, and Ray are all on the wrong side of 30 and growing older by the second. In fact, one of the main reasons the Celts lost to Orlando last year was because Pierce and Allen had been forced to play bigger minutes for the past three months due to KG’s injury. Although Pierce played the past ball of his career last year and Ray hit tons of big shots in the Chicago series, the result was that both of them were completely gassed by the end of the Orlando series.
    However, you are right in that Doc has to understand that losing to a truly pitiful team like the Nets is inexcusable. And yes, there were times when I wondered what on earth Scal was doing out there. But if you have to extend the minutes of your starters in a February game against the 5-52 Nets, then you have far bigger problems.
    This team is built for the playoffs, at least on paper. But in order for this team to even have a prayer at the 18th banner this year, everyone from KG right down to Scal will have to contribute and, most importantly, be healthy. If everything falls into place between now and April, I see no reason why the C’s can’t compete with Cleveland and Orlando. Do not forget that PP guards LeBron tougher than just about any player in the league and that Kendrick Perkins is capable of containing Dwight Howard.
    And as far as Nate Robinson goes, we essentially gave up a one trick pony in Eddie House for a guy who is quicker and has a pretty slick handle, but also tends to make bad decisions at times. We Celtics fans will have a love-hate relationship with him.

  4. Ron - Feb 27, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Susie, susie, susie…….its not the coaching. Celtics started out 23-5 and are 13-16 since then. Over 29 games? That isn’t a slump, that’s a decline. This is just an old, ordinary team that isn’t going anywhere…I remember hearing earlier that the Lakers and Celtics were on a collision course to meet in the finals this year; well, that isn’t going to happen.
    The Celtics are one and done. They should have shipped Ray Allen before the trade deadline. I can’t believe the collapse against Cleveland the other night, but this loss might have been worse.
    Still, you never know. They may surprise in the playoffs, but they aren’t getting past Cleveland or Orlando unless those teams have a major injury and maybe not even then.

  5. tk - Feb 27, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Sorry Celts fans, turn out the light the party is over. Rondo is overrated, he pulled a great Hoodini act dissapearing in the 2nd half against the CAVS. I like how banner18 stated the Celtics are build to “compete” not beat the cavs or magic. Garnett looked like an old man against JJ Hickson. Great, Pearce can guard LeBron while the other CAVS (i.e. Mo Williams)runs circle around the Celtics. At least you have the baseball season to look forward to…

  6. James - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Ron…it is the bad coaching pure and simple. Doc needs to be fired immediately. The team has tuned him out. Injuries aside, the strategies being deployed each game are terrible. Sheed was brought in to be a low-post presence but lives outside the 3 line. He plays 20 mins a game and averages 2-3 rebs lately. Today he got 6 but when was the last time that happened? October? Who’s fault is it that this is allowed? It’s Docs, as he has no balls to yell at his players, bench anyone, and consistently pulls guys that are hot and puts in guys like Scal that produce nothing positive when Williams, (and Walker when he was here) sit. This team can turn it around but appears to be coasting a lot just waiting for the playoffs. But you can’t win playoff games with Davis averaging 2 rebs a game, Wallace 3 a game, and the team shooting 19 3s per game and turning the ball over 14 times a game. Championship year they were 3rd in rebs, now 23rd. The lack of heart, effort, and passion (Ainge said they looked “bored”) is the job of the coach to instill. When was the last time he benched anyone for poor play? He has to go…

  7. James - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Ron…it is the bad coaching pure and simple. Doc needs to be fired immediately. The team has tuned him out. Injuries aside, the strategies being deployed each game are terrible. Sheed was brought in to be a low-post presence but lives outside the 3 line. He plays 20 mins a game and averages 2-3 rebs lately. Today he got 6 but when was the last time that happened? October? Who’s fault is it that this is allowed? It’s Docs, as he has no balls to yell at his players, bench anyone, and consistently pulls guys that are hot and puts in guys like Scal that produce nothing positive when Williams, (and Walker when he was here) sit. This team can turn it around but appears to be coasting a lot just waiting for the playoffs. But you can’t win playoff games with Davis averaging 2 rebs a game, Wallace 3 a game, and the team shooting 19 3s per game and turning the ball over 14 times a game. Championship year they were 3rd in rebs, now 23rd. The lack of heart, effort, and passion (Ainge said they looked “bored”) is the job of the coach to instill. When was the last time he benched anyone for poor play? He has to go…

  8. bitterKnicksfan - Feb 27, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    yeah- good luck with the Yankees

  9. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 27, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    First of all, I’m a Laker fan since the Magic era and I languished through the Pfund years. That being said, I’m not too happy with the way the Celtics are performing of late. Just like the Spurs, people comment about the age factor. I highly respect the Celtics — our much “hated” rivals — they bring out the best and worst in us. But I’ll be damned that Celtic Pride will allow this team to go gently into that good night.
    Never underestimate the heart of a champion, says Rudy.
    I say fire Rivers. Rasheed’s potential is not being maximized. I look at the roster and I see a deep team. Yes, I agree, proper micromanaging in terms of minutes is needed. But I think that the plays and strategies are put into question here.
    If Boston will fire Doc at this time, who will best replace him?

  10. Ron - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    You make some good points, but Sheed has always done what Sheed wants to do, and he has always camped his sorry but outside the 3-point line waiting for someone to pass him the ball. As he has gotten older, he has gotten lazier. I haven’t seen energy from this guy since his early Piston days in 2004…and gone forever is the energy he brought at Portland.
    It’s hard for me to believe the Celtics have “tuned out” a guy who coached them to a championship less than two years ago. But you are closer to the situation than I am. Age cannot be the only factor in a 13-16 run over 29 games. But I got to believe their heart isn’t in it either…they had a nice little road trip lately, notwithstanding the pasting they got from Denver to finish it out. I saw how they shut down the Lakers for the past 7:33 in the fourth quarter recently, so they can play defense better than anyone when they want to.

  11. Ken - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:39 AM

    Rasheed Wallace is a coach-killing, chemistry-destroying HAS-BEEN ! Good Luck getting rid of him !

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  13. K - Feb 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    When you say the C’s decline is due solely to “bad coaching” or “age”, then you are grossly over-simplifying this team’s problems. They have many. Add, “weak roster” to that list. No good strengthening moves made over the last two years. And adding Rasheed was pure stupidity.
    You are seeing a team realize they simply do not have the talent to beat Cleveland or Orlando. Or Atlanta.

  14. luffy - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    I’m a lakerfan and I do like to see another showdown w/the Celts in the finals but could we pls. wait til playoff season then let’s see if Boston still ha it. Maybe Boston is just showing their weaknesses to hide their strengths. surprises are fun…

  15. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 28, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    @luffy: Agreed. Post season is a different grind. It would be foolish to count the Celts out. Playoffs is all about smarts, experience, and character. For the Celts’ sake, I hope they still have that to counter the youthfulness and athleticism of the opposition.

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