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The Celtics lost five of nine heading into Friday night’s game against the Bobcats, but Charlotte was without leading scorer Stephen Jackson or second-leading rebounder Tyrus Thomas for the game, so the Celtics should have been able to take out the Bobcats with ease at home.
For the first three and a half quarters, that was the case. The C’s had a 13-point lead entering the last quarter, and were up by 11 with 7:42 to go. The Bobcats then went on a 16-0 run to take an 80-75 lead. After going more than five minutes without scoring, the Celtics scored the next six points to take a one-point lead at 81-80…but they never scored again. Dante Cunningham (who!?!?) hit the go-ahead shot with 34 seconds remaining, and Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett each missed potential game-winners (or shots that would have tied it up) in the final 25 seconds as the Celts lost 83-81.
Doc Rivers thinks his team is playing “selfish.”
“The way we’re playing shocks me. Our attitude shocks me,” he told reporters. “I just think we’ve become very, very selfish, not just as far as trying to get our own (shots), but everything is about how we’re playing individually, instead of how the team is playing.
“A guy struggles, he pouts, he moans. Everything is me, me, me on our team right now, feeling sorry for themselves instead of giving themselves to the team and playing.”
Ray Allen, meanwhile, still thinks his team his chemistry issues after the Kendrick Perkins trade and several other roster moves. Gee, ya think!?!
“It’s not about making excuses,” Allen told reporters, “but I think the chemistry with the new guys is still being built.”
Pierce, who led the team with 18 points, admitted that while the offense is struggling, the defense needs to stay strong.
“Our defense really broke down in the fourth quarter,” Pierce told reporters. “Regardless of however our offense is going—it’s been struggling as of late— we still should be able to put together a defensive run.”
Doc, Ray, and Pierce all are right. The Celtics are playing a bit selfishly, as Rajon Rondo finishing with just five assists would indicate. It’s hard to totally blame Rondo: The Celtics hit barely 40% of their shots, and you can only get an assist if the person you pass it to actually sinks the shot.
Regardless, the team lately just seems so lost without their buddy Perk around. I would like to think that they’re all grown men and professionals and can move on when a loved teammate is traded away, but if that’s STILL not the case more than a month later, then this team is not going far at all.
Every team takes their lumps and has their peaks and valleys, and this is the Celtics’ first significant slide of the season. Perhaps they need these wakeup calls against mediocre opponents (remember last year’s loss to the Nets?). It should serve them better in the end, as long as everyone is healthy.
Next up for the C’s is a game Sunday in Minnesota against the T-Wolves.