This is starting to get repetitive, but the Boston Celtics came up with another terrible effort on their home court and lost to the Brooklyn Nets 95-83 to fall to 8-7 Wednesday night at the TD Garden. Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn with 18 points and Andre Blatche and Jerry Stackhouse each came up with 17 off the bench. The Celtics got 16 points from Kevin Garnett, but shot just 43 percent and turned the ball over 17 times. Rajon Rondo was ejected late in the second quarter for attacking Kris Humphries after the Net forward fouled Garnett. Humphries was also ejected along with Gerald Wallace, who for some reason went right after Garnett during the scrum under the Nets' basket, however the fight didn't spark the Celtics in any way. They once again looked completely lost. They were better on the defensive end but overall it was another awful game for the Cs, who are now just 4-4 at the Garden. Something is seriously wrong. Teams are coming to the Garden, punching Boston in the mouth, and the Cs aren't pushing back at all. The effort isn't there, the communication isn't there, the intensity isn't there. Nothing is there. Coach Doc Rivers called the Celtics soft after the game and they deserved it.
After Rondo and Humphries got into it under the basket late in the second quarter the Celtics somehow wound up with three free throws and were only down 13 ("only") at the break. The Nets really did not close the door on them at all in the second half as Boston really did lock in on defense, but every time they had a chance to get it to single digits Paul Pierce found a way to screw it up. Pierce is the last player that Celtics101 want to pick on but it has to be said – he killed the Celtics in the second half. They had five chances to close the gap to single digits and had the ball in Pierces hand. On all five he either turned it over, missed the shot, or got fouled and missed the free throws. It's a little harsh to pile on Paul as he shouldn't have been in that situation. He normally wouldn't have the ball in his hands so much. Normally Rondo would have the ball in his hands. But whatever the reason the facts remain -Pierce was awful. He wasn't the only one. The whole team with the possible exception of Garnett was poor, but Paul was the worst, and he really cost Boston a chance to steal this one with his play in the third quarter.
There was none. There was no way that this game could have been worse. The really depressing part is that the Nets didn't even play very well. Jerry Stackhouse was lights out off the bench and Andre Blatche gave them a nice boost, but Johnson shot just 6-14, Brook Lopez spent most of the night in foul trouble, and Humphries and Wallace were ejected before the half. The Nets shot just 40 percent from the field and won by double digits. Rondo got ejected, Chris Wilcox missed the second half with an illness, and Jeff Green and Courtney Lee both missed time with injuries. Rondo will probably be suspended and the Celtics will have to sort try and themselves out without their best player. This is pretty much rock bottom.
Show Me Something
The loss to the Bucks in the Celtics home opener was bad. The loss to the Sixers on their home court was bad. The blowout loss to the Pistons was bad. But this one takes the cake. It's hard to explain but the Celtics are simply not playing hard enough on either end of the floor right now. They are just going through the motions. It was almost refreshing to see Rondo go after Humphries. It will obviously hurt the team but at least somebody cares. Rivers lit into the team in a second half timeout and calle dthem out big time during his post game press conference. "If your Brooklyn or the league right now you have to think we're soft," said Rivers. "We have no toughness. You have to earn it here." It reminds Celtics101 of Rivers calling them out after the Bulls loss last year. It worked then. Hopefully it will work now. Something has to wake this team up.
What It Means
Nothing good. The Celtics are in disarray. This team should be very good but, at least right now, it isn't. The Celtics need answers and quickly.
The Celtics try to move on when they face the Portland TrailBlazers on Friday at the TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.
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