Boston Celtics' 2OT Collapse Signals Need for Major Roster Changes

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJanuary 26, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 25:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 25, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In one of the best games we'll see all season, the Boston Celtics dropped a double-overtime thriller to the Atlanta Hawks. Kyle Korver led all scorers with 27 points—the same number of points that the Celtics led by during the first half.

As a result, we're calling the Celtics out. Thy are in need of major roster changes.

Although the Los Angeles Lakers have stolen the headlines in 2012-13, they aren't the only legendary franchise in shambles. Boston is now three games below .500 and in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

Their most recent loss was their most devastating, as Boston blew the aforementioned 27-point first half-lead.

Despite outscoring the Hawks by a margin of 29-10 during the first quarter, the Celtics found a way to lose. This has been the story of their season, as Boston can't seem to take the lead and hold onto it.

Just don't think Doc Rivers didn't warn you about what would—and should—transpire.

Earlier this week, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England reported that Rivers threatened to "get some guys out of here." The Celtics had lost three consecutive games prior to those comments.

Of the teams who brought them down were the 14-29 New Orleans Hornets and the 16-27 Detroit Pistons.

"I gotta either find the right combination or the right guys, or we're going to get some guys out of here," said a visibly upset Rivers after the Celtics lost their third straight game. "That's the bottom line. This group right now, they're not playing right. It's in them to play right. But right now they haven't been either because I'm not getting to them, or they're not getting to each other."

Since Rivers' comments, the Celtics have reciprocated previous results—they've lost three consecutive games.

Whether we want to admit it or not, Rivers was spot-on with his evaluation. If the Celtics are not going to come together, it's time that Rivers finds a group of players that will.

The fact that they trail the New York Knicks by 7.5 games in the Atlantic Division is a major reason why.

Running Out of Time

The Boston Celtics are a veteran squad that is more than capable of winning on the road come the postseason. If that weren't the case, they wouldn't have secured three wins away from home en route to the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

With that being said, the Celtics are on pace to finish in the No. 8 spot in the East. No team in NBA history has won a title after coming in as the eighth seed.

The 1999 New York Knicks were the only eighth seed to make it to the NBA Finals, and that happened to be in a lockout-shortened season.

Boston doesn't have such a luxury in 2012-13.

If the Celtics don't cure their woes in the near future, they will embark on an uphill battle. Perhaps most important of all, they may be forced to face the Miami Heat or New York Knicks in the first round of the 2013 postseason.

Miami is 18-3 at home and New York is 14-6 at MSG. Boston must improve.

Crowded Backcourt

The Boston Celtics boast one of the deepest backcourts in professional basketball. If you don't believe that to be true, simply take a gander at their roster.

Their depth chart includes Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa.

Although that creates the belief that the Celtics have a strength, it has become a weakness. Boston possesses five players that command significant playing time with only so many minutes to throw around.

Most importantly, they have five egos to placate.

This is not to call any individual a weakness, but the Celtics must explore potential trades to create a less crowded crop of guards. This would enable Rivers to create a more consistent rotation and the Cs to develop team chemistry.

If they fail to execute a trade, however, one of the most crowded perimeters in basketball will fail to display any form of consistency.

Nothing in the Post

Thus far in 2012-13, the Boston Celtics rank 25th in points in the paint per game. A major reason for this deficiency is one severe absence from the Celtics' offense.

Boston has no form of a reliable low-post presence.

Rookie Jared Sullinger is more than capable of scoring with his back to the basket. With that being said, he is a first-year player that is virtually alone in this capability.

Both Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass have become mid-range oriented scorers and Paul Pierce is strong, but he's also the team's supreme floor-spacing shooter.

With this being known, it is easy to see what the diagram is for every Celtics opponent.

Rajon Rondo is a master facilitator, but his teammates are almost always going to set up along the perimeter. As a result, opponents are crowding the arc and forcing Boston to beat them inside.

So far, they've been unable to do so.

With their perimeter depth, it is certainly possible for the Celtics to swing a deal to land an interior presence. The question is, will Danny Ainge actually pull the trigger?

If Ainge is as wise as we believe him to be, he will—before it's too late.


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