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Celtics Report Card: The Black Hole in Sacramento

DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings sucked out any hope Kevin Garnett and the Celtics created in their previous two games. (Yahoo Sports/AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

After the Boston Celtics coughed up a win against the Los Angeles Lakers, I had forsaken all expectations for the rest of the road trip. The writing on the wall spelled DOOM. (Quick tangent: why does Hollywood try to turn video games into movies?)

Then the Celtics did something I had thought impossible: they gave me a semblance of hope. A won a tough game over the league-darling Los Angeles Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back, then beat the Golden State Warriors (so what if they had traded their one healthy star for an injured one?).

But the Celtics got sucked into the black hole known as the Sacramento Kings, killing my hopes alongside the concept of “ball movement,” then lost to the Denver Nuggets in utterly predictable fashion (second night of a back-to-back at altitude against a deep, young, and athletic team). This was demoralizing mainly because this was now a team that included the one and only JaVale McGee.

As a Boston sports fan, I should’ve know better than to get my hopes up. So let’s assess last week in the Celtics classroom:

Starting Backcourt: C+

Rajon Rondo put up respectable numbers, averaging 13 assists, but what is he doing letting Nate “Worst Multiple Dunk Contest Winner” Robinson spring for 20-11 and letting Isaiah “Extra Letter” Thomas put up 13-10? Oh right, Rondo only tries against other All-Star caliber point guards, Like when he shut down Chris Paul.

Ray Allen had one night with good touch (26 points on 9-of-16 shooting in Sacramento), but it happened to coincide with the night his counterpart Marcus Thornton went berserk.

Starting Frontcourt: C+

Paul Pierce carried the Celtics to the finish line against the Clippers with 10 fourth-quarter points, but he’s been erratic at best lately. It’s been almost two weeks since he shot over 50 percent in a game, though he came close against Denver at 47.1. The Celtics need more rebounding out of him, especially with how little depth they have up front.

Brandon Bass continued his solid play in the starting lineup, shooting lights out outside of Denver, and Kevin Garnett was also superb in the first two games with 22.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, including the game-winner at Golden State.

Somehow they let Kenneth Faried run them off the court, though, giving up 18 points and 16 boards to the Denver rookie. It’s worth noting Faried didn’t miss a shot – 5-for-5 from the field, 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. The Boogie Man DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson had similarly easy nights in Sacramento.

Bench Backcourt: C-

Avery Bradley cracked double-digit minutes three out of four games last week – the only player off the bench who doesn’t make me cringe and/or vomit with that kind of playing time. More than I can say for Keyon Dooling (more like Keyon Drooling, am I right?).

For whatever reason, Marquis Daniels emerged from his vampire lair to play 20 (!) minutes in Denver, and played reasonably (surprisingly) well to boot: eight points, two rebounds, and one assist. My confusion is almost palpable.

Bench Frontcourt: C+

Mickael Pietrus was on fire against the Warriors (5-of-6 from deep) but relatively tranquil otherwise. Greg Stiemsma has been playing well in his role as the primary (read: only) big man off the bench, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, making the occasional (and I do mean occasional) bucket.

But that’s all the Celtics have, at least until JaJuan Johnson starts hanging out with Ryan Braun (or the urine collector, depending on whose story you believe). The Celtics desperately need to add someone to the roster to replace Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’Neal, both of whom are done for the season. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so there’s no telling who that might be. It could be a bought-out Chris Kaman (who looks like a meth-head), or Ronny Turiaf (who might be from Sparta).

Coaching: B-

I’m going to penalize Doc Rivers for probably letting his son’s March Madness loss to Lehigh get in the way of the Kings’ game on Friday. That may be harsh, but I think it’s fair. His team was wholly unprepared to play that night, mostly because Rivers was more interested in watching the TV than preaching the pregame.

Clearly I don’t have any children. More to the point, I hate Duke.

And if you must know, yes, my bracket is totally busted, and I will not stand for the Celtics to fall casualty to the NCAA tournament as well.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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