Boston Cetlics: Early-Season Woes No Sign for Concern

Andrew BaumannContributor IIIDecember 29, 2011

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 27:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks during a game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on December 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

37.2 percent. 

That percentage represents how many shots the Boston Celtics made last night against the New Orleans Hornets. They were utterly dominated in almost all facets of the game, getting out-rebounded, out-shot and out-played. The Hornets took down 11 more rebounds then the Celtics did on the strong play of Emeka Okafor, who had 13 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots. To compare, Kevin Garnet had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. 

The Celtics were utterly dominated last night. Their interior defense and offense was lacking the entire game. Jermaine O'Neal only made one shot out of six attempts for two points on the night. Okafor and Kaman put up 25 points together and had a 50 percent shooting percentage as a duo. They were also shredded outside too, with Jarrett Jack and Marco Belinelli scoring 21 and 13, respectively. 

This by far has been the worse of the Celtic's three recent losses and easily to the worst team out of the three. While losses to the Knicks on Christmas Day and the Heat days later were bad, losing to an almost empty Hornets team by 19 points is inexcusable. 

The Celtic's biggest problem is the lack of Paul Pierce. While Pierce can not change the level of play of the interior that much on his own, his presence could have easily helped the Celtics win at least one of their last three games. With Pierce ailing and O'Neal struggling, they have a double-trouble situation—at least for the moment. 

The Celtics have barely gotten by as is, but their worries will soon be fixed. They won't win a Finals next year, but they aren't going to set any loss records. With young Rajon Rondo scoring at such a high level (he only scored 13 points against the Hornets), it will take the pressure off the aged Garnet, Pierce and Ray Allen. 

Their biggest problem is the sloppy play of Jermaine O'Neal. This could simply be a bad couple of games for O'Neal, but if it is not, then the Celtics might have to find another option at center through free agency or trade. 

Celtics fans need not worry, though. Not only were two out of three of the games close, none were at home. Tomorrow, the Celtics play an unimpressive Detroit Pistons team in TD Garden, and it is sure to give them their first win.