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Boston’s defense is a mess right now, but at least they admit it

Jan 3, 2013, 11:22 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics Getty Images

If the first step to fixing a problem is to admit you have one, well, the Boston Celtics have taken the first step with their defense.

On the season, the Celtics are giving up 102.1 points per 100 possessions, which is a middle of the road 14th in the NBA. But in the last 10 games Boston has allowed 105.8 points per 100 and in the past five games that is up to 107.4 (stats by NBA.com).

Boston’s loss to Memphis last night was its 12th double-digit loss in 31 games. It’s not good. At all.

But the Celtics are owning up to it at least.

Here is what Rajon Rondo told Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com.

“We’re not playing it (defense),” the point guard said following the Celtics loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. “I don’t know (why). We’ve just got to try to take it one step at a time. It starts with me so I’ve just got to hold myself more accountable….

“Just our trust, our trust isn’t there,” he said. “When we do make a mistake, we don’t make up for one another. In the past, a guy may be off the dribble or a guy might have an open shot, a guy might run from no matter where and cover up and contest the shot. Right now, we’re just standing watching our guys take open looks.”

Avery Bradley was back Wednesday night and when he was on Mike Conley he did a good job holding the Grizzlies point guard in check. But that didn’t solve the Celtics rotation issues, it didn’t solve the problems when he went to the bench.

Former Celtic and defensive stalwart Tony Allen noticed it from the other bench. He thinks it’s the way the roster has been built, he told WEEI’s Green Street.

“I don’t think they’ve really got a defensive-minded guy yet,” added Allen. “I mean, they’ve got one [Avery Bradley], but I can’t say he’s 100 percent just yet. I don’t think they’ve got the center like Perk [Kendrick Perkins]. It’s kind of hard finding a guy like — a guy who clogs up the paint, talks trash to you and can actually back it up. They’re just missing a lot. I don’t know. I don’t see the same team from 2008.”

Boston’s offense has struggled of late as well and while they should improve on that end of the floor as well the offense is not going to carry the defense in Boston. In years past the rock-solid defense carried the team through the dry spells at the other end of the floor. Now the two ends seem more tied — miss a few shots and the Celtics stop rotating on defense. Then the two ends spiral down together.

Tony Allen may be right, but the one guy that can change it, the guy that must change it is Kevin Garnett. He is the key to the Celtics turning this around. And he told CSNNE.com that process is just starting.

“Obviously losing (Bradley) was a huge, huge loss to us. Him coming up starts the rebuilding or the starting process of what we have broke here, and that’s get back defensively sound and being the team we know we can be. As you see, it doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it. When you’re playing against good teams, it makes it that more difficult. But we’re not hanging our heads, we’re not making excuses. We’re going to try to come in here and try to grind this thing out and turn this thing around.”

And the Celtics have taken the first step — admitting they have a problem.

  1. hehateme2 - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Need more Heat news.

    • basketballhooper1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      wow man. just wow

    • rodyaugu - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      The Heat aren’t playing defense either, but they’re winning unlike the Celtics.

      • andyhr17 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        That’s because the Heat are playing offense, something the Celtics currently lack as well.

  2. hojo20 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Memphis made the Celtics look VERY old last night.

  3. pantsfreezone - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Celtics fans don’t want to admit it, but they MISS RAY ALLEN so, so much. Jesus Shuttlesworth spread the defense open for the Celtics. Nobody on opposing teams fears any of the three point shooters on this C’s team and, regardless of his defensive liabilities, everyone fears Ray Ray’s shot. This created space for the plodding drives of Paul Pierce, the swift darting of Rondo to the hoop because he can’t shoot to save his life and allowed Garnett to single up and shoot his mid-range jumper.

    Now, they have Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and some other trash that no one worries about shooting. Oh, and they still suck on defense and rebounding…and offense…wow they suck at everything.

    • andyhr17 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      So the Celtics look old are are not playing defense, and the answer is that they should still have Ray Allen who was the oldest of the Big Three?

    • jjordannba - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      You must not have seen Rondo lately

      • andyhr17 - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        Rondo who is playing with a hurt hip? That would slow anyone down.

      • bozosforall - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        Cry us a river, sandycrotchho17. All teams have injured players at one time or another…the Lakers have had many more injury issues this year, but LA fans aren’t crying like you wussy Puh C’s fans.

      • andyhr17 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        My comment wasn’t about the team playing bad, it was about Rondo playing bad. It wasn’t an excuse, it was a reason for his less than stellar play. you’re not literate nor do you care what other people said so I really wasn’t talking to you. Now call me a name that a 4th grader would call someone so we can move on.

  4. lakerluver - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    The truth is, the Celtics just aren’t any good. They’re old and their young players aren’t that talented. They have many of the same problems that plague my LAKERS. Younger more athletic teams have passed them by. This doesn’t bode well for my preseason prediction of Boston vs LAKERS in the Finals this season. (sigh)

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    My advice…….Tank the season. Get in the lottery. It’s all you can do.

    • dko83 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Like last year? When they were a game from the finals?

      • bozosforall - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:15 PM

        Or a game from losing to Philly in the previous round.

  6. eventhorizon04 - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    I think everybody expected some dropoff on the Celtics’ defense given that Bradley missed a lot of time and the minutes of KG had to be stricly limited during the regular season.

    KG is playing around 5-10 minutes per game less in the regular season than he will be in the playoffs, and he’s the heart and soul of the Celtics’ defense. He is the Celtics’ best individual defender + best help defender + the “quarterback” of the defense who gets everybody to their spots. Assuming they make it back to the playoffs, their defense will “mysteriously” improve, and a major factor will be Garnett giving them 38 minutes per game instead of 28.
    Bradley meanwhile is their second-best individual defender and will take some time to get his legs back under him. So while KG’s minutes won’t increase until the playoffs, Bradley’s minutes will increase steadily from now on and that should improve the defense somewhat.

    What *is* concerning is the lack of offense. Jason Terry was brought in to offset the loss of Ray Allen, Jared Sullinger was drafted to serve as an offensively-minded big behind KG/Bass, and Jeff Green was given a big contract to serve as the Celtics’ second-leading scorer off the bench (behind Terry). Terry this season has been less productive and less efficient than Ray Allen was last season, but the dropoff isn’t huge. However, Sullinger and Green have each averaged under 10 points per game and haven’t consistently produced, especially when KG is on the bench.

  7. paulhargis53 - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    bozo, you guys were crying. ” we haven’t had Nash all year and Paus missed games, wait til we are at full strength to judge us”. Sound familiar hypocrite?

    Cmon lakerluver, how can you show the same ignorance under 2 different accounts? I mean its the SAME inanity .

    Here is where you either ignore my post, or call me pudhummer and say the lakers won a title 3 years ago.
    You’re a broken unfunny record.
    GKY. nobody anywhere would miss you.

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