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.