Blog Entry

Celtics have a big problem

Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:42 pm
The Boston Celtics have prided themselves on being bullies inside. The Bulls showed that identity may be in danger of losing its muscle.
Posted by Matt Moore

The entire time you read this, just imagine a big Kendrick-Perkins-shaped shadow cast over it. The trade is done and over. But that doesn't mean the unspoken question isn't going to be about the trade of Perkins to Oklahoma City. This Celtics team will be compared to the 2008 championship and 2010 Eastern Conference championship teams, and those teams were known for their tough play inside, thanks in large part but not entirely to Perkins. That trade will hang over the franchise should they fail to bring home No. 18. For now though, the trade is over, and the Celtics have to deal with what they have and who they are. Just know that it's there. 

Against the Bulls Thursday night, the Celtics had the idea early. They moved Jermaine O'Neal into space, guarded by Carlos Boozer, and O'Neal converted. In the first quarter, the objective was clear. Boozer is the Bulls' weakest defender. That's where the Celtics need to hit them. But then, for the next two quarters, the Celtics moved away from it. They repeatedly went to unstable dribbles on ther perimeter, trying to find passing lanes through a defense that must have seemed very familiar for them, the hounding, relentless style. The result was turnover after turnover leading to fast break opportunities, especially for Derrick Rose who carved them into pieces. 

In the third quarter, when the Celtics closed the gap aggressively, they went to Kevin Garnett in space against Joakim Noah. Garnett worked Noah in the post, nailing a turnaround baseline J, then a face-up jumper from mid-range.

And that pretty much sums up the Celtics' efforts to score in the paint. 

More on Bulls-Celtics
The Celtics are used to being bullies. The bigger, tougher, rougher team. And against the Bulls, they should be. Instead, the Bulls used effort and execution to overcome any size differential, flummoxed and frustrated the Celtics, and dropped them like a bad habit. Look at the autopsy on the box score. Kevin Garnett was 3-9, thanks to Noah being active and help coming from all over. But the real culprit was Glen Davis, who repeatedly stopped the ball in favor of leaning fadeaway turnarounds and contested face-ups. Davis doesn't recognize his role in the offense, having too often been given the green light like some sort of novelty act that went on stage so long it thought it was part of the main show. 

Jermaine O'Neal, the biggest player the Celtics have active, played just 16 minutes and had no rebounds. But he was more active and physical, and wound up with two blocks. The Celtics will point out they were without Shaquille O'Neal, which is true, and O'Neal definitely would have made a difference. But the Celtics have to accept they can't rely on him. Either Nenad Krstic, Troy Murphy, or Jermaine O'Neal is going to have to step up, and if not, Kevin Garnett is going to have to put together a series of games we haven't seen since the middle of the 2000's. 

Which is still possible. The Celtics can turn it on when the second season comes. They did it last year. But the difference is that they look significantly different as that tough, brutal team that punished teams inside. Forget about the offense. Derrick Rose had an open invitation to the lane, and instead of winding up on the floor headed to the line, sore from a border-line flagrant, he swooped on through. That's not the Celtics we've come know. 

Derrick Rose put the finishing touches on his MVP season Thursday night. The question is if the game also served as a red flag that the Celtics' recent stumbles aren't a matter of effort and boredom, but legitimate issues with what they've come to pride themselves on. The Celtics have had a huge muscle advantage on the league for three years. The Bulls on Thursday showed that if you execute cleanly, the Celtics are no longer in a position to shove back. They have nine days to get that muscle back.

Since: Apr 8, 2011
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:32 pm

Celtics have a big problem

With Rondo in playing with this group, he must learn to overcome his shooting. There are many defenders know that he cannot shoot outside. They simply let him to shoot outside rather than play defense close to him. It created defense tightly inside and forced Pierce and Allen to shoot outside. I do love Rondo's assists, fast pace but sometimes he needs to control his pace and reduce his turnovers. I bet you that if Rondo have excellent shooting from outside, this team would be hard to beat.

Without Perkins on this team, Celtics will not go all the way to NBA finals!

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 9:48 am

Celtics have a big problem

I'm a long-time Celtics fan and have cheered Paul Pierce over the last few years, but he's sucking the life out of the offense.  He looks like he's going half speed, makes more than his share of sloppy passes and turnovers and is firing up three pointers like he's Ray Allen.  In the games Boston has lost, Pierce has just sucked.  In the games they've won, he's sucked less.  GET RAY ALLEN back in the offense.  Hey Pierce, PASS the friggin ball!

Since: Apr 8, 2011
Posted on: April 8, 2011 8:37 am

Celtics have a big problem

Wonder who will think Shaq is still young enough to have on their team next year? East Finals: Bulls in 6.

Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:33 am

Celtics have a big problem

Could be worse....we could be in Chicago for the spring.  Celts , Sox and bruins?  ALLLDAYYYY

April baseball...rookies like you care....Rose will not see a finals in his career...THAT I know.  Overrrated.  Chris Paul like.

Since: Aug 20, 2009
Posted on: April 8, 2011 2:18 am

Celtics have a big problem

Its pre season in the nba...who cares

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:52 pm

Celtics have a big problem

The Celtics front line is the biggest joke in the NBA.  Boston fans better hope that the Bruins can do better or its going to be a long spring in Beantown.  How about them Red Sox?

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