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Boston Celtics’ Latest Losing Streak Should not Be Big Deal

January 22nd, 2013 at 5:50 PM
By Will Clark

Celtics nation is not happy right now. The Boston Celtics followed up their season high six game losing streak with a three game skid and, after the latest loss, coach Doc Rivers ripped into the team in his post game press conference, basically telling them "start playing better or you will be traded." But while Doc is clearly sick of the inconsistency that this team has consistently shown, and the fan base echoes his feelings, Celtics101 is not convinced that this latest losing streak is actually that big a deal. Not entirely.

Look at these last three losses and there is one common thread – the Celtics aren't hitting shots. In their last three games the Celtics are just 14-47 from three point range, good for just 23 percent. As Rivers always says, "this is a make-miss league". A team can usually overcome one or two players having a rough stretch from the field, but when the entire team goes into a shooting slump at the same time, it is tough to win games. Paul Pierce has been struggling the most- he's hit just three of his last nineteen three point attempts, many of which were shots he shouldn't have taken, but he's not alone. There isn't a single player who a fan can point to and say that he is shooting the ball well right now. Sometimes the shots just don't fall. Fans don't expect an entire team to go cold at once, and they don't expect it to last this long, but it happens.

The really troubling thing about this losing streak is Boston's inability to bounce back after a loss. Against New Orleans they simply couldn't hit a shot. They played hard, and were actually pretty good on the defensive end as they held the Hornets to 90 points on 43 percent shooting. The troubling early season trend of giving up a layup whenever they really needed a stop returned, but they did do everything they could. They just couldn't hit shots. It happens. But against Chicago the defense was worse. Carlos Boozer chewed them up in the first half, but thanks to Rajon Rondo and some more committed Celtic defense, the C's got back into in the second half. They were in position to win the game when the referees stole it away from them, and they eventually lost on a miracle shot by Marco Belinelli. Suddenly they found themselves in the midst of a two game losing streak, but again, neither one was really a bad loss.

Then came Sunday night and that absolute stinker in Detroit. Before that game many fans probably felt that the Celtics were still playing good basketball. They had come out on the losing end the last two games, but they were still   playing pretty well overall. Then they let Detroit run up 103 points on them despite the Pistons turning the ball over 21 times. The Celtics meanwhile shot just 39 percent, turned the ball over 18 times, and committed 33 personal fouls. That speaks to a team simply getting out-worked, and that is not what the Celtics organization is supposed to be about. The Celtics are supposed to come out even harder after a loss, but the resilience that has been such a staple of the Celtics during the Kevin Garnett era has yet to show itself in the current squad. That is what is troubling. They lost one game and immediately reverted back to all the bad habits that had them three games below .500 less than three weeks ago.

If these losses are simply the result of Boston being in a shooting slump, then it is not a big deal. However if it is something more, as many seem to believe, then it is a big problem.

Tags: Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, losing, NBA

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