Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Cue The Excuses: Celtics Off To 0-3 Start After Embarrassing Loss In New Orleans
I'm sick of the excuses for the Boston Celtics. I love this team but they started in the preseason and they're only going to get worse since they are off to a pathetic 0-3 start after losing 97-78 tonight to the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena.
If you're a green teamer, you'll say it was the first back-to-back of the season for the Celts (0-3). They were playing their third game in four days and Paul Pierce sat out for the third straight time. Whichever bogus loser's lament you want to chose, Boston just began 2011-12 with three depressing losses on the road.
Sidenote, I love Tommy Heinsohn but his constant theme of harping on the refs (deserved or not) gets mighty old when your team sucks. Just saying.
By far, this one was the worst since at least in the other two (at New York and Miami), they showed some fight and competitive spirit before losing games they had no business winning. Nope, tonight they simply laid down to a team that not only was missing its best player-Eric Gordon-but likely won't even make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
After a 9-2 run to start the game by the C's, it was never really close as the Hornets (2-0) rolled in their home opener. One last excuse, it was the third home opener the Celts had to be the visiting team for.
Former Worcester Academy star Jarrett Jack had a game-high 21 points with nine assists while Carl Landry had 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans. Others in double-figures for the winners included former UConn star Emeka Okafor (13 points, 5 blocks), Marco Belinelli (13 points) and Chris Kaman added 12 off the bench.
Ray Allen led Boston with 15 points, Rajon Rondo was the only other Celtics starter to reach double-digits with 13 points. Brandon Bass (11 points) and Keyon Dooling (10 points) continue to score well off the bench.
The only real thing I learned from this contest was that Doc Rivers might as well start rookie Greg Stiemsma. In his first action of the season, the former D-League player and Wisconsin center had six blocks in 20 minutes. That's enough to convince me that he should start over the ghost of Jermaine O'Neal (2 points, 6 rebounds in 21 minutes). Well at least until Danny Ainge signs or trades for a better option.
New Orleans led 24-19 after the first quarter and 48-39 at halftime. Boston never really fought back as they draw even with the Hornets in the third (24-24) and eventually waved the white flag in the fourth (25-15 Hornets).
Boston's tired legs caused a bunch of ugly numbers for them. New Orleans shot 45.6% from the field which is average but looks great against Boston's 37.2%. The Celts hit three more 3-pointers (7-4) but the Hornets made eight more free throws (21-13), grabbed 11 more rebounds (48-37) and had three more steals (7-4). With no big-time inside presence, the Hornets still owned the paint (46-24).
It can only get better from here, right? Boston limps home and then faces the Detroit Pistons (0-2) at TD Garden on Friday night. It's hard to call a game before New Year's a must-win in the NBA but if the Celts lose to the Pistons and fall to 0-4, it might be time to start figuring out how to blow this all up.
Also, can Pierce suit up on Friday? Or is that too much to ask for a guy with a bruised heel? I hate to compare sports but could you imagine a Bruin or Patriot missing this much time for such a fraudulent and not very serious injury.