Boston Celtics' Struggles Continue...How Concerned Should Fans Be?

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IJanuary 10, 2009

It's hard to imagine a team with a record of 29-9 to be concerned, but in reality it's the truth for the Boston Celtics. At the end of the night, after another loss, this time at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics have lost seven of nine. Their only wins have come against the Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards

I believe the Lakers are the ones that paved the way to beat the Celtics and they haven't been able to recover yet. First of all, the Lakers made Rajon Rondo shoot more, and he went 3-of-11 and scored just six points but handed out 12 assists. Secondly, Ray Allen also really struggled—going 5-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Another thing that the Celtics did, that must drive Doc Rivers crazy, was turning the ball over against the Lakers. They had 17 turnovers. 

The next night, the Celtics played the rested Golden State Warriors. It was actually a refreshing game for me as I am a Warrior fan and the Celtics made the Warriors play at a slower pace. The Warriors' defense was outstanding. 

They did an excellent job of not fighting over the top of the screen which is what allows Rondo to be able to get to the rim. With that, it caused Rondo to be in situations that made him uncomfortable—forcing him to make quick decisions. Rondo did go 5-of-11 from the field and finished with nearly a triple double with 11 PTS 9 REB 10 AST. Yet, on top of that, the Warriors forced him into seven turnovers. 

This was also the game when Marco Belinelli really made a name for himself—at least on the defensive end. He frustrated Allen into three offensive fouls which eventually fouled Allen out of the game. Allen finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.

As mentioned before, the Celtics turned the ball over too many times against the Lakers. However, against the Warriors, theworst defensive team in the league, they turned it over an astonishing 23 times!

Rondo did have a better shooting night, going 5-of-10 in their third loss against the Portland Trail Blazers who were playing without their best player Brandon Roy—making the victory that much more impressive for the young Blazers. 

Again, the reoccurring theme is Allen has disappeared. He shot just 2-of-11 from the field and finished the game with 12 points—half of those points came from the free- throw line. This time though, the Celtics took better care of the ball and committed just 13 turnovers. 

Their fourth loss involved three people, including both Rondo and Allen who struggled—combining for 8-of-25 from the floor and 19 points. Along with the bad games from Allen, Kevin Garnett only went 1-of-6 for six points. 

The Celtics struggled once again against the Bobcats. This time, it was Garnett and Allen who went for a combined 14-of-38 from the field and 34 points. Again the turnovers plagued the Celtics they had 18 of them, with half of them committed by Rondo. 

When they lost their sixth game out of the last eight, it was again Allen who continued to struggle from the field going 4-of-13 and scoring 13 points. Rondo was largely ineffective with only five points and going 2-of-4—meaning Allen and Rondo combined for 18 points and 6-of-17 in shooting. Turnovers weren't a factor with the Celtics, turning the ball over 11 times. 

In their seventh loss in nine games, there were three players who struggled. Allen and Rondo again, and this time, it was Paul Pierce. The three combined to go 10-of-35 from the floor and scored only 28 points. 

The Celtics also committed 15 turnovers. There's been a constant in these losses for the Celtics, and it involves three things. 

First, Allen has slumped mightily in the last nine games—only averaging 13.77 points per game with 39.46 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc. 

Secondly, the Celtics' turnovers have cost them. During the last nine games, the Celtics have turnover average is 15.78 times a game. That's unacceptable for a team that is dominated by veterans. 

Lastly, Rondo hasn't been as effective as he was earlier in the season. It seems that the teams have a scouting report for him to make him try to score. He's been taking more shots, turning the ball over, or not taking enough shots. 

I don't believe that the Celtics are going to continue to lose. The question that remains is when is the change going to come to wake up the complacent Celtics?


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