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All Laid Bare: Pistons 96 Celtics 81

 

ESPN Box ScorePiston PoweredDetroit Bad Boys

Individual grades are almost superfluous in the wake of this latest Boston failure. Nearly every fundamental team flaw was on display last night, and while it’s fair to note the absence of Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass when unpacking it, you can only do so if you also note that the problems against Detroit are the same ones that exist when the Celtics are fully healthy, only more pronounced.

Last night, Boston:

-Surrendered 16 offensive rebounds.
-Turned the ball over 24 times leading to 40 Piston points.
-Failed to defend in transition and on the perimeter and deter shots at the rim.
-Gave up 46 Detroit free throws as a result of all of the above.

On some nights, all of these aren’t major problems. On some nights, the Celtics look like their old championship selves. But those are irregular occurrences and there’s something depressing about watching Paul Pierce and Ray Allen (and Garnett) stagger through games like this, even when they’re parts of the problem.

Keeping the core together for one final run makes a lot of emotional sense, even if we know they’re unlikely to do any damage in the playoffs. But now at 15-15, and tied for 8th in the conference, going even two rounds deep is hardly a sure thing. The Celtics have played an easy schedule to date, and have yet to take a major injury hit. The schedule is about to get really tough and bodies are going to tire. They could play better the rest of the season and still see their record fall under .500.

Is it really noble for this group to stagger and struggle all season only to land Chicago or Miami in the first round? A series against either of those two would be over in five games, maybe six at best.

Is it a better thing for some of them to be dealt off, assuming palatable deals are available? I’m not sure that it’s any worse to see the team fall out of the playoffs than the above alternative, although neither holds much appeal right now.

  • Morpheus

    I can't wait for the deadline, i think Rondo's gone.

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    This, combined with Kobe's rant about trading Pau, makes me nervous.

  • ripsonics

    (the blog is deleting comments btw).

    Here's what I Thought.. The refs blew, first of all. Detroit shot 46 free throws and I believe we were under 20 – ridiculous. Rondo was an idiot for throwing the ball, but when i look back – I woulda thrown the ball at the refs face, so i actually had no problem with it.

    When you get right down to it.. This is our team. and whether or not you believe in trading Rondo – he is in fact a terrific player. He is unlike any other point guard in the league. Very few can do what he can do, and it frustrates the hell out of me that we are playing the way we are playing. The bottom line, however, is this team should be winning games – and as fans, we are trying to figure out why they are losing. Regardless of your belief, the chances are that you are wrong… you aren't an analyst, you aren't Forsberg.. WE just aren't them.

    Our role.. is the fan. and at the end of the day, we are supposed to cheer our team no matter how crappy they play. I know that maybe the best of anyone here. My team got up and left because my city stopped caring about them. The Celtics aren't going anyhwere, but don't take your team for granted.

    We will continue to cheer for the Celtics, no matter how shitty they play, no matter how inconsistent Ray's jumper becomes, because we are their fans… nothing more, nothing less.

    At the end of the day, all we can say is…

    GO C's.

    • High Rollers

      My grandmother may she rest in peace was a lifelong St. Cardinals fan. I wish she had lived to see the day when anything was truly demonstrated to be possible. Last year those C's were given no chance, and I mean NO chance, to make the postseason, let alone go on to win it all in the single most improbable fashion the likes of which no one had seen before. It was truly amazing. I don't follow baseball the way I follow basketball. I was already a true believer in this Celtic core and its coach. They had earned my devotion with some of the most amazing and determined play of the last four+ seasons in NBA basketball. Now they're really against the ropes, it seems. They lost their bruising center. They lost his lanky, athletic who-knows-if-I'm-a-power-forward-or-small-forward replacement for at least the year. They lost free agents to the new landscape. They've lost more games than any one can stomach in this bottlenecked season. But again, anyone who saw that Cardinal ride last year truly knows that anything is possible… and really has no reason NOT to believe. Baseball and basketball may be apples and oranges, but sport is sport.

      Go C's!

      • New English

        This brought a tear to my eye…

        • New English

          Serious. Not being a dick. just to be clear.

          • High Rollers

            That's cool.

  • http://twitter.com/Donnie_Peters @Donnie_Peters

    Chris Forsberg wrote, "Well, that was ugly. Yes, the Celtics were playing without Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass — and lost Rondo for the final 15 minutes — but this one was inexcusable. The whistles went against Boston early and the team lost its cool. Boston ruined an otherwise solid defensive effort by hacking at everything in sight and you're simply not going to win any games when you give the opposing team 46 free throw attempts (not to mention coupling that with 40 points off 24 turnovers)."

    Frustration it is and the question now is whether or not the team is letting all of it really get to them. Judging by this game, it's starting to show. I'm starting to get a feeling that outside of the lack of wins the Celtics are producing, Rondo is betting overly frustrated with the way things are going in the big picture, rather than just how they went in this past game against the Pistons or the past three games.

    I like what ripsonics just said, …"he is in fact a terrific player. He is unlike any other point guard in the league. Very few can do what he can do, and it frustrates the hell out of me that we are playing the way we are playing." Maybe that's just how Rondo is feeling as well, frustrated as all hell.

    Is it finally time that Rondo has just had enough of the team that's around him? You see that when the team's out running, Rondo is absolutely amazing. But in a half-court set, things don't look so good from him. Maybe all of that built-up tension is finally coming out with Boston's young point guard and he's starting to show it on the court. Thoughts on that possibly happening?

  • Batman

    I can’t believe people are watching these games and thinking RONDO Is the problem
    He’s playing for a coach and team that doesn’t respect him and constantly refuses to utilize him properly, a la Mark Jackson style
    We should trade maybe he can finally be happy on a team that will utilize and reapect him properly

    • janos

      HI Batman! as usal you voice reason. ROndos get disrespet every post i go. get sick on rondos talk. rondos best, if they trade for not-blake, i very mad .
      are you ready baseballs?

  • Batman

    And it’s funny we all know Rondo struggles in the half court set yet Doc continuously refuses to play to his strengths blythe posting him up or having him curl off screens

  • Batman

    We dont even set picks for him

  • http://twitter.com/Donnie_Peters @Donnie_Peters

    I'm not thinking Rondo is the problem. I agree we need to utilize his abilities more, especially to run, but it's just not so possible with the team he has around him. To him, that's frustrating and I can definitely feel for him. It's hard because he wants to win and win now, all top professional athletes do. Hopefully if the Celtics get through this year and go through some rebuilding, it's not too late by the time they get back to where they need to be talent wise and Rondo's ability to run isn't gone.

  • CG12

    Rondo is THE problem, but he is A problem. He's sulky. His jumper is still iffy. His defense has degenerated incredibly. The Cs do set picks for him. Rondo's man just goes under it every time because he doesn't have to respect Rondo's J.

    But it is mostly an issue of the team being made of mismatching parts. The New Big 3 are half-court guys these days. Rondo needs open floor to be at his most effective. So there are going to be issues with that.

    Danny does need to make a decision on Rondo. They need to be looking to the next version of the Cs, and if Rondo is around it must be built around him. That means getting some young players who can run with Rondo. If Danny doesn't think that is the way to go, then they should trade Rondo ASAP and get someone who they think fits the vision they have for the core of the team. I wouldn't necessarily mind rebuilding with Rondo, but I am growing to really dislike him on this particular squad. It just doesn't work and plays to his worst features. There is an anecdote about how when Rondo first came into the league, he was tearing all over the place and yelling at his teammates, and Doc told him "no one likes playing with you." That's how I feel right now.

    • CG12

      * is not THE problem

    • Jamie

      Every player has negatives. Rondo does a lot of positive things that 99% of the players in this league cannot do. We don't focus on that end of it enough.

      • CG12

        That is certainly true. My point is that this team is not built to take full advantage of Rondo's positives. I completely understand that it must be frustrating to be the fastest guy out there, by a lot, trying to push the pace, with no one to run with you. But it does seem like Rondo is growing visibly pissy about it, which is not helpful at all. That ejection and sure suspension for throwing the ball at the ref – not wise.

      • CG12

        And his defense is reaching new lows. ESPNBoston did a little video/picture analysis on how penetration was killing the Cs because their bigs are always out of position from having to help. There was a classic picture of Rondo going for "the Rondo" (the 5% chance poke-steal) and ending up at least 10 feet out of the play. That summarized my complaints about Rondo's D better than I ever could. Before Rondo was an all-star, his D was one of his calling cards. It is, to be blunt, a joke that Rondo has been first-team all-D the last two years. Sorry – I was trying to be positive, but I couldn't help myself.

        • High Rollers

          A lot of this is simply about adjustments. That's why they play a regular season. Rondo's adjusting to running the team, a privilege that wasn't in the picture just a few short (long?) years ago. Paul's figuring out his newest incarnation, trying to become someone who runs things when necessary but for the most part plays off the ball because that's the what the defense forcing. Ray Ray's probably trying to teach his new bigs just how to set a pick that will work for him and working out with MP the best version of ring around the rosy to get open threes. (When it works, it's so much fun to watch. Heck, it's fun to watch no matter what.) KG's trying to impart his defensive language, his vociferous ways. Every one else is just trying to soak all this up meanwhile trying to catch Rondo's bullet passes. (Even the refs. … Sorry. Too soon?) I can still see why Doc likes this team.

          • High Rollers

            Almost forgot… it must be a lot easier to be brilliant on D when it's your sole focus and you're not on anybody's radar just yet. Rondo's D will still save us in key moments. Celtics' D, I should say.

          • CG12

            I'm not normally a negative guy, and I know that it is "just" the regular season (and a weird one, at that), but after some of the eggs the Cs have laid recently, it is hard to see where this year's team is going anywhere. Earlier in the year, when they were losing scrappy games, I was actually feeling pretty positive, but getting pummeled in ugly games like they have recently is really deflating. But Detroit is also a sneaky good team and I still really like the pieces on this Cs team (bench is soooo much better than last year), so I'm going to try to stay more positive about this year. You hate to give up on a year, but no one really saw this Cs team as a contender. So any success is gravy, and on to the post-New Big 3 future.

          • High Rollers

            Rotten eggs is definitely a hard stench to ignore. Hopefully the C's do a good job of cleaning house, whatever the source of the stink. I see the C's finding themselves again tonight against Dallas. I just hope it's with Rondo, so we can start to kill the mystery of Rondoless wins. Will the fact that he threw the ball underhand cause the NBA to go easy and forego a suspension? It did seem to have some force behind it, but did he have eye contact with the official? I wonder what details they cover in trying to decide punishments. I imagine all kinds of kosher and less than kosher more business related reasons factor in. I wonder if the ref saw it coming and was establishing a little protest of his own by not making to catch it. I guess it's all pretty petty. Thank God it's just the regular season. #blamethelockout

    • ripsonics

      You know.. I agree.

      I wrote something related to this a couple days ago about whether or not they need to keep Rondo and build around him – or trade rondo to try and win with this group.

      The answer isn't clear.. and my ultimate conclusion was to wait it out because we arent fully healthy (Really tho… who is…?) and see what happens when we are.

      Is that the right call…? Probably not.. but thats why I am simply a commentator.

  • Jamie

    That's why getting Wilcox more minutes is vital. He's perfect for Rondo cause he gets out and runs. We don't get ANY easy baskets when the big 3 and JO are in the game. None. It's very hard to win in this league playing 5 on 5 in every posession.

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    Even if this season is a total crash and burn, it doesn't really matter because the core delivered a championship. If you knew this was coming three seasons after winning the finals, you would gladly take it as the cost of putting another banner up. High expectations are expected with C's fans, and that's fine. But let's also put it in perspective. The sky isn't falling.

    • janos

      HI michael david, is Janos
      Team very nice still, I agrees.

  • I_Love_Green

    I'm concerned about Pierce lately. He's been playing really really uninspired basketball recently, and his comments after last nights debacle do not sound like comments a leader like Paul should be saying.

  • onecowboytoo
    • noche

      So Cleveland is just going to give Boston Semih for no reason? Just the ol' here ya go! Have a player!

      • onecowboytoo

        They would either get the trade exemptions from when we traded him to them, a pick or if before march 1st send Dooling. If it is after the 1st of March then you can send either Pavlovic, or Daniels

    • CelticsBIG3

      Arenas sucks

    • Eric

      Nice haul for the Magic!

    • sightline75

      Stop drinking while you post.

  • Cisco

    Nobody is helping Rondo… not in the media, not in post-game media sessions, not during the game when Rondo hits the floor after being abused by the other team Bigs… not by Doc, teammates or Danny. Or fans. Strangely, fans hate him most.

    Fact: he is alone in this Celtics organization.

    Why? Because he is not the kid anymore, because he is not the role player anymore, because he developed personality, because he wants to play his game.
    Because he started shooting.
    Because he didn't score much. Because he scored to much. Because when he scores to much, Paul and Ray can't have their numbers done.
    Because he runs so fast and this makes Paul looking ridiculous, at times.
    Because he is way better than Paul Pierce, right now. Because he is so good that, by comparison, it hurts seeing Paul struggling.
    Because he is the best Celtics right now.
    Because he is the fastest PG in the league.
    Maybe, for his own good, for his career to follow its course, he should be traded. He should go.
    Maybe this Celtics organization would be able to realize, when he's gone, the gold and treasure they use to have and gave away.

    • noche

      I'd say that not all of your points are valid, but some are good. I think fans gave up on him when he started pouting after the Perk trade. He's not the same person he was before. Sometimes it seems like Rondo doesn't even like playing basketball anymore.

      I don't think anyone is upset with Rondo scoring. People are upset that he's developed an attitude and aversion to the fans. Maybe we trade him and he becomes one of the greatest PG's ever. Maybe we trade him and his flaws are exposed. That's the thing about Rondo – we can't really define his ceiling because it's hard to tell if he is actually that good. He has gaudy stats but sometimes watching him you can't help but feel he's lazy and arrogant. It seems that the truth won't come out until, one way or the other, he is away from the Big 3. Either in Boston in a few years, or on a new team now.

    • CG12

      Easy. Management and Doc have every reason to want Rondo to succeed. And remember that we only see a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes with the team. A lot of the things we have heard over recent years make it pretty clear Rondo is an extremely hard-headed guy, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. Doc has a well-earned reputation as a player's coach, so you can be sure he is supporting Rondo like mad, but he is also not going to be afraid to give him a kick in the ass if he is sulking. Rondo is a grown-up, who gets paid $10MM a year to do a pretty awesome job. I don't feel bad for him for taking a flogging when the Cs do poorly and he looks out of it. People expect him to step it up because they respect him.

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  • janos

    This why season short turn bullshit! have play to many backing backs and everyon dumps Rondos. Is not real season.

  • Jon

    You guys are BLIND! look at the first 5 seconds of the video.. #10 or #18 on Detroit jumped on his back and knocks him down.. the ref is right there watching the game like a fan

    Rondo couldn't control his emotions but this will not get him to be traded. He's part of the Celtics future and probably the only way D12 would come to Boston too

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