Boston Celtics Slow Start Has Them In Potential Playoff Peril

Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

@craigballard77

The 2012-13 Boston Celtics are off to a slow start. The 5-time defending Atlantic Division champs are currently the #8 seed, and after their Christmas day win vs the Brooklyn Nets the C’s remain at 13 losses. The Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic are each at 15 losses so at the one-third mark of the schedule we see the Celtics are actually in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

The Celtics are in the top-5 for oldest teams, but that has been the case for a while., For years the “older” Celts were stacking victories. Their actual issue is their road play. With their Christmas victory the ’12-’13 Celtics are now 5-8 outside of Boston. This is the fifth season in a row that the Celtics have regressed on the road. Check this decline:

2007-08…31-10 on the road

2008-09…27-14

2009-10…26-15

2010-11…23-18

2011-12…15-18

Their Atlantic foes have just not been good enough to take advantage of the Celtics increasing road issues, but the ’12-’13 Atlantic has a lot of potential to be very deep.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo have all been consistent at home and on the road.

New Celtic Jason Terry has struggled to get his game going for Boston. As a rookie in 1999-00 Terry averaged 8.1 points per game. His ’12-’13 average of 11.2 is his lowest since that rookie campaign. His 3.9 baskets per game is also his lowest since ’99-’00. Terry is getting just 2.2 assists per game which is his career-low. On the road The Jet is not even at double digits per game (9.6) despite averaging north of 30 minutes per game. A sure area of (massive) concern is Terry’s 3-ball shooting. Terry is making a putrid 29% of the 3-balls he chucks on the road.

Jeff Green is not in rhythm just yet in his return. The longtime starter for the Oklahoma City Thunder is coming off the bench for the Celtics and is getting a career-low 9.6 points per game.

Courtney Lee is yet another new Celtic that has yet to find his stride. Lee is averaging a career-low 6.4 points per game, and he is making just 28% of his 3-balls (yikes).

Brandon Bass is fairly consistent, but it is worth noting that his home production is slightly better than his road production.

Doc Rivers has to be very concerned with his squads regression – at home and on the road – from this once vaunted Celtics defense. In their five straight seasons as the top dogs in the Atlantic they have been 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 1st, and last year 2nd in the entire NBA for team defense/points allowed per game. This season they are allllll the way down to #18 (yikes).

Doc has mentioned his concern with the fact that this seasons team seems to be without an identity currently. For half a decade they buttered their bread on defense, but this seasons team has a lot of new faces and have to hope that they just have yet to gel. The 2012-13 Celtics have been unrecognizable so far. Celtics fans have to hope that the calendar turning to 2013 will provide some sort of spark for this team.

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