Wednesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks shed some unpleasant light on the Celtics’ situation this season. Let’s start with the obvious.
The team is slow, old and could barely keep up with the Mavericks, a team that is also, old and slow. Rondo is pushing the ball down the court like a man possessed but there is rarely anyone running with him. Pierce had a sluggish night, save for some potential late game heroics, but gave up more points than he scored by not sliding over on help defense. Keyon Dooling and Brandon Bass are good scorers, but defensively liable. Dooling kept double teaming Bradley’s man, when Bradley is one of the few players on the team who can keep his man in check one on one. And then there’s Garnett. I think it’s safe to say that every Celtics fan loves Kevin Garnett, his intensity and fire is real and makes you want to be on his side, but he is not the player he was even a season ago. He can still hit that 12-15 footer, but inside he doesn’t seem to have the confidence when he’s trying to score over defenders and was getting beat to the basket last night, left and right by Dirk Nowitzki, including the three point play that let the Mavs pull away with the win.
So to recap, tough loss for the C’s, off game for Ray and Pierce, and overall decline of Kevin Garnett seems to be more and more apparent. But there are some other things to consider that are just as troubling. First the front office. Watching Delonte West hustle up and down the floor last night not only made me think of what we missed out on last season with his injuries, but also what we’re missing this season. I like Dooling, but is he really an upgrade or even an equal talent to West? I don’t think so. Also there is a huge lack of confidence in the rookies. Moore and Johnson have seen such limited playing time, with Johnson I’m not surprised. He doesn’t have the size to play the power forward in the NBA. But with Moore, I don’t understand why Doc isn’t giving him more minutes. If those two continue to ride the bench we’re going to wish we hadn’t traded away MarShon Brooks (some of us already do).