In their 79-90 loss at Chicago Saturday, the Boston Celtics looked flat in the paint on both sides of the ball.
Despite having two All-Star caliber talents in Carlos Boozer and Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls not only out-hustled the Celtics inside, they outright dominated.
The Celtics had 27 rebounds, a mark that Chicago shattered with 48. Boozer, Luol Deng and Kurt Thomas combined for 27 rebounds themselves, 10 coming from Boozer.
Although the C's managed to put together a four-game win streak and win four of their last five, problems still exist. Overall, they have won four of their last seven, a winning percentage well below their season average.
Yet, aside from winning percentage, if there’s one thing that the Celtics have been missing since the fall of Garnett, it’s a lack of efficiency on the glass. In five of the seven games since losing KG, the Celtics have been out-rebounded. Three of the five times they were beaten on the glass by at least 12 boards.
The loss of KG has shown to be detrimental to the Celtics' aggression inside.
In the Bulls contest, the C's problems inside were made more apparent. Jermaine and Shaquille continued their foul-trouble problems and had at least four each early in the fourth. Luke Harangody, who had a career-best night against Toronto the game before, was quite the contrary. In his 13 minutes, he was especially timid, going 0-1 shooting from the field and grabbing two boards.
What is the Answer to the Problems Inside?
Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who gets more minutes than all of them, was dominated by the veteran star Boozer. Davis managed a 4-17 shooting night with a mere three rebounds in a whopping, season-high 43 minutes.
Boozer, on the other hand, poured it on with 22 points and 10 rebounds, shooting well above .500. The problem here: Davis had the assignment of Boozer the majority of the 43 minutes he was in the game.
A 4-3 record without Garnett is not too shabby, but it can be improved, starting with the inside game. Rajon Rondo has weapons in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to get by on the offensive end. Defensively, however, there is a need for step-up play in the frontcourt, and over time it may hurt the C's.
Danny Ainge is hoping Garnett will return just before the team’s West Coast road trip, which begins January 27 in Portland.
Tonight, the Celtics host the Rockets at home, facing the 11th-best rebounding team in the league, led by Argentine star Luis Scola with 8.2 a game. They come in struggling, having lost six of their last seven and five in a row.