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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Excuse Me, Has Anybody Seen The Celtics' Defense? They Seem To Have Misplaced It

It is pretty easy to figure out why the Celtics are struggling so much at the moment: they've allowed 102+ points in three of their last four games (all losses). For whatever reason, the defense that they've been famous for since Kevin Garnett (14 points) came aboard in 2007 has been mostly non-existent this season.

San Antonio (9-3, 5-1 away) came to TD Garden tonight and laid a 112-100 beating on Boston (6-6, 3-3 home) that truly wasn't that close. The Spurs shot 58% and had six guys in double figures. They led from start to finish, outscoring the Celts in three quarters and tying them in the third.

For the Celtics, it's hard to come up with an excuse since they are healthy and hadn't played since Sunday's no-show in Detroit. The Tony Parker (26 points, 6 assists) vs. Rajon Rondo (22 points, 15 assists) matchup didn't disappoint but basketball remains a team game and the Spurs helped Parker more than the Celtics performed well around Rondo.

Ageless Tim Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds and the mysterious Tiago Splitter scored 23 points off the bench. San Antonio's superb role players did their part: Gary Neal had 12 points while DeJuan Blair and Danny Green both had 10 (they both start, amazing).

Paul Pierce scored 19, Brandon Bass had 16 and Jason Terry notched 12 points. Along with defense, Boston's other major issue is rebounding. Would you believe that they had one offensive rebound all game-by Bass late in the fourth quarter? San Antonio crushed them on the glass (41-25) which led to a 58-34 advantage for points in the paint.

With Darko Milicic leaving the team today for good to be with his ill mother in Serbia, Danny Ainge has a roster spot to play with. You have to think he'll look search far and wide for any available big men with a pulse. Hello Kenyon Martin!

The C's might have flunked their first test against one of the Western Conference's elite squads but they have another chance to redeem themselves on Friday (7:30 p.m., CSN) as Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder (9-3) visit. They only play each of those teams twice this season so you have to savor them. We'll probably never get a Celtics-Spurs NBA Finals (last season was mighty close with both in their conference finals) but we can still dream about that or Celtics-Thunder (halfway true last June).

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