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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celtics Start Their Road Trip of Woe with Blowout Loss in OKC; Swap Lee for Bayless

Don't worry if you forgot/didn't watch a second of Celtics-Thunder tonight after an excellent NFL Wild Card weekend. Boston (13-21 overall, 5-11 away) started a killer five-game road trip (Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors and Blazers) with a 119-96 loss at Chesapeake Arena to Oklahoma City (27-7 overall, 15-5 home). The Celts have lost seven of their last eight games.

Former BC standout Reggie Jackson led the Thunder with 27 points while Kevin Durant had 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Serge Ibaka added 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, former Celtic Kendrick Perkins notched 12 points (which has to be a season-high) and six rebounds with former UConn star Jeremy Lamb scoring 13 points and six assists off the bench.

Jeff Green and Avery Bradley both had 19 points to pace the Celtics while Jordan Crawford put up 17 points and seven assists and Kris Humphries scored 14 points off the bench.

Why am I telling you this/who cares? The only reason I mention this pointless midseason NBA exhibition is because the Celtics made a little more news (well not really) off the court this evening as they traded overpaid (2 more years left, $11 million) and overrated swingman Courtney Lee to Memphis for underachieving point guard Jerryd Bayless.

Lee was here for the last two seasons but I honestly can't recall one notable positive contribution to the team. That's not to bash him either, he seems like a decent enough guy but it was just a case of a player that looks better on another team then you see him up close and realize those numbers must have been hollow. He averaged 7.8 points last season in 24.9 minutes per game yet those both went down this season on a rebuilding team (7.4 points in 16.8 minutes per game) with a new coach and system, so there.

Bayless was the No. 11 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft but he never played for the Pacers. Since then, he's been on the Blazers, Pelicans, Raptors, Grizzlies and now Celtics. Boston has always coveted him since he routinely tears them up in recent years for some unknown reason. For his career, he's averaged 8.2 points in 19.3 minutes per game.

Don't get too attached to Bayless though (haha yeah right, like anyone would do that) because he simply could be a trading chip moving forward. Sure, he could serve a role on a contending team that needed bench scoring or a backup point guard.

At the moment, the C's find themselves one game back of Detroit for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference-the sacrificial lamb to Indiana or Miami. Hopefully this trade, their recent awful stretch (plus upcoming games) and talk of Rajon Rondo rehabbing in Portland with the Red Claws (their D-League team) has woken up Boston to the fact that they need to tank or else they'll pay for years to come. The last 48 games promise to be painful but this is the only logical option if they ever want to return to relevance in the city and league.

The road trip of doom continues on Tuesday (9, CSN) with Boston visiting Denver (16-17 overall, 3rd in Northwest Division). At least the Celts can ease their mind with Colorado's finest legal weed (topical!).

UPDATE 1/7: The trade was finalized today with Lee going to Memphis and Bayless coming to Boston. Additionally, the Grizzlies get a 2016 second-round pick from the Celts, Ryan Gomes returned to Boston from Oklahoma City (but he was immediately waived) and the Thunder received a 2017 second-round pick from Memphis.

UPDATE 1/9: MarShon Brooks was recalled from Portland, he'll be back with the Celtics tomorrow night at Golden State.

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