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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Time To Face Facts: The Celtics Are Not A Good Team At The Moment

I guess we should be happy that the Celtics are returning home tomorrow morning (they had issues with their charter, forcing them to spend an extra night in the Windy City). Their 3-game road trip couldn't have gone much worse (barring injuries) as they went 0-3, capped off by a listless 100-89 loss to the Bulls tonight at the United Center. Joakim Noah (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks) recorded his second career triple-double in the victory.

Don't be fooled by the final score, Chicago (14-10, 8-6 home) was up by 20 (95-75) in the fourth quarter before Boston (12-12, 4-8 away) made it closer than it actually was. Would you believe that this is officially the Celtics' worst start since 2006-07 aka before Kevin Garnett (10 points, 8 rebounds) came here?

You have to give Boston credit for one thing after their losses in Houston, San Antonio and Chicago: they were very consistent as they scored 88 or 89 points each time and allowed 100-103 points. Rajon Rondo (26 points, 8 assists) wasn't the issue as he played very well. Paul Pierce had 16 points and Courtney Lee added 14 points. That was it though, nobody else did anything.

Chicago had six guys in double-figures plus their bench outscored Boston's 37-16. Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 12 rebounds while Luol Deng also notched 21 points. Marco Belinelli scored 10 points with former Celtic Nate Robinson (18 points) and Taj Gibson (13 points, 5 rebounds) coming up huge off the bench for Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau-a Salem State alum and former Celtics assistant coach.

The Bulls outscored the Celtics in all four quarters. It was 28-23 Chicago after one quarter and 55-48 at halftime. The Bulls led 79-70 heading into the fourth before the wheels really came off for Boston.

Almost all the statistics favored the home team. Chicago shot 50% to 43.2% for Boston. The Bulls hit seven more free throws (21-14) and grabbed eight more rebounds (43-35) with 10 more assists (28-18), eight more blocks (10-2) and 12 more points in the paint (48-36). The Celtics had three more steals (7-4) and eight more fast break points (14-6).

Boston plays Cleveland (5-21, 5th in Central Division) tomorrow night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). The Cavaliers shouldn't have any sort of advantage since they played at home tonight and lost to the Raptors 113-99. The team might be terrible but Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are an excellent young backcourt while Anderson Varejao is playing at an All-Star level. The C's should win but it's not a gimme by any stretch, particularly with the way they stumbled this past week.

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