Shamrock roundup: Celtics lose four in a row
We’ll call it a post-holiday slump for the Celtics, who have lost four straight games since they beat the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas day. They fell to the Clippers on the 27th and have since lost three more games. Three of the four losses have cost the Celtics 100 or more defensive points. On Saturday, they fell to the Golden State Warriors, Sunday brought a loss from the Sacramento Kings, and Wednesday saw the Celtics fall to the Memphis Grizzlies.
December 29th brought their second-straight loss in which they allowed over 100 points, falling to the Golden State Warriors, 101-83. The Celtics seemed to have a bit of a comeback in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors’ 20-point lead was reduced to only eight points. With the score at 78-70, however, the Warriors picked their play back up and held off the Celtics’ advances. The Celtics were severely lacking in the guard position, as Avery Bradley was out after shoulder surgery and Leandro Barbosa was out for a personal matter.
In their last game of 2012, the Celtics completed their West Coast road trip with a game against the Sacramento Kings. It was Rajon Rondo‘s first game back after a hip and thigh injury. Rondo netted just two points and 10 assists. The Kings trounced the Celtics, putting up seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter alone to help the Kings to a 118-96 win. Sacramento, who has a record of 10-19, made putting up points against the struggling Celtics look easy.
A big reason for a lot of the losses this season — especially the one to the Kings — is that the defense collapses in the fourth quarter.
“The reason why guys came back is because of what we built here and that we are known to defend, for some reason, we’ve gotten away from that. So we’re going to have to go back to our origins to figure it out,” said Kevin Garnett after the game.
Boston returned home and welcomed in 2013 with a 93-83 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 2. The bright spot about this loss, however, is that the Celtics held the Grizzlies to only a 10-point margin. The stats are still frustrating, however. Memphis’ shooting percentage was only 34.3 in the second half, yet they still outscored Boston. Garnett, usually one of the top point-getters, is struggling, averaging only 11.6 points in his last six games.
Rondo lamented how the defense has been struggling, saying that other teams throw off their confidence.
“Teams are making us pay. When we play good defense, they have great ball movement and a guy gets a wide-open 3 and makes it,” Rondo said. “It messes your confidence up defensively, but you’ve still got to go back in there and keep [involved] in every other possession.”
The Celtics play next on Friday, Jan. 4 with a home game against the 19-13 Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m. at the Garden.