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Irish Coffee: Celtics should stop making excuses

03.30.11 at 2:24 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

The Celtics are 5-7 in their last 12 games. You know that. I know that. And they know that. There’s nothing you and I can do about it, but there’s plenty they can — starting with taking some responsibility for coughing wins up to teams like the Nets and undermanned Bobcats.

Just listen to the comments from Celtics veterans in a recent HoopsWorld story

Ray Allen: “I’m not comfortable, and I think even if we didn’t make trades we still had injuries where we were still playing catch up. I’m not comfortable.”

Was he more comfortable taking the same amount of shots per game in January (11.9), when the C’s finished 12-4 without Kendrick Perkins while Allen averaged more points, rebounds and assists than he did this month?

Paul Pierce: “It’s hard when you got pieces missing every other week, it seems like. In another week, we’re going to be a whole new team.”

Was it hard when the Celtics went 33-10 without Perkins for the first 43 games of the season, or when they finished 19-6 in their first 25 games without Shaquille O’Neal — or did it get exponentially harder over the last 12 games against powerhouses like the Nets and Bobcats?

And then listen to the comments from the newest Celtics in that same HoopsWorld story …

Nenad Krstic: “It’s tough what we’re doing right now, but we did it in New Jersey when I was there and Lawrence Frank was the coach. A lot of stuff is similar, but it’s been four seasons since the last time I played it in New Jersey.”

Was it tough when Krstic averaged 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds during a 6-2 stretch in his first eight games as a Celtic, as opposed to the 6.7 points and 4.2 boards he’s produced over their most recent 4-5 stretch?

Jeff Green: “My offense will come, because I can score the ball when I want, but it’s just a matter of me taking down what this team is all about — and that’s defense. It’s just getting the lingo down and getting the rotations. It’s different.”

If it’s so different, why has Perkins seemingly picked up the Thunder’s schemes with relative ease, or is a Clifton J. Ozen High education that much better than a Georgetown one? Ok, so that’s a low blow from a Syracuse fan, but the point is that the C’s problems are about effort.

The Celtics should either admit they don’t care about these games or stop making excuses. They’d do themselves a favor either way. Just listen to the comments from a guy who takes responsibility even when he’s barely gotten a chance to contribute on the floor …

Carlos Arroyo: “We all understand that we have to play better. It’s a matter of how we execute down the stretch and how we start games. In our execution in the games, if we don’t focus on those little areas like our energy at the beginning of games and not being able to relax during games, teams are going to play us hard. We have to respect that and know everybody is going to come and play us hard.”

DANNY AINGE, SOMEONE TO LOOK UP TO

Celtics president Danny Ainge has mentored his nephew during a difficult time. (AP)

Celtics president Danny Ainge‘s nephew, Jets backup QB Erik Ainge, wrote a brutally honest account for ESPN.com of his struggles with bipolar disorder and drug addiction that “would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy.”

Here’s the basic timeline of the struggles that have plagued him since the age of 12 …

  • 1999: “It began with a bong hit, and it escalated from marijuana to prescription meds, alcohol, cocaine and heroin.”
  • 2007: “By the time I was a senior in college, I was an addict.”
  • 2008: “Most of my rookie year, it was painkillers — and lots of them. I was taking 25 Percocets at a time. Five hours later, I’d do it again.”
  • Spring 2009: “I got out of rehab and I lasted three or four months, but I started drinking, socially.”
  • Fall 2009: “About four months after I started drinking, I was a hard-core alcoholic.”
  • Spring 2010: “I was getting drug-tested three or four times a week [by the NFL], but I continued to drink daily through the spring of 2010 and into the summer. That’s when I relapsed with hard drugs. In July, I went on a two-week bender.”
  • Summer 2010: “I went to two different rehab centers in the Boston area, and a halfway house — a total of almost four months as an inpatient.”
  • Fall 2010: “The first three months were harder than the next three months. I’m doing better now, but it’s still very tough.”
  • Winter 2011: “My substance-abuse insurance through the NFL and CIGNA got canceled as a result of the lockout.”

Around the start of the Celtics 2010-11 season, Erik Ainge left the halfway house and moved in with his uncle. Here are the kind words Danny Ainge’s nephew said about the C’s president …

“My uncle Danny took me in from the halfway house to live with his family until I decide on what to do from here, which has been huge. He’s someone I look up to. When I was a kid, he and [former Suns teammate] Dan Majerle used to wear rubber bands on their wrist. They used to give them to me when they couldn’t wear them anymore.

“At 24, I still wear those rubber bands on my wrist. My uncle has been a pretty big influence on me, especially from a spiritual standpoint. He’s the bishop at the Mormon Church in Wellesley, Mass. I see what kind of man he is, and that’s what I want to be someday. Danny Ainge will always be a positive name, but I can make Erik Ainge a positive name again if I make the right decisions from here on out.”

RAY ALLEN: TOM THIBODEAU ‘KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT TO DO’

Allen might not be content with his current role in the Celtics offense, but he is comfortable claiming Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows how to lead Chicago to a championship.

Here’s what Allen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the former Celtics assistant …

“He knows exactly what he needs to do to get to that final game, to where he can hoist a banner because he has seen it from inception. It’s hard when someone is asking you to do something and you haven’t done it before. He has been there. He knows what to expect and what his players should be like.”

Meanwhile, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers called his colleague a nerd …

“That’s what he is. All of us are lifers, but he’s a nerd, a basketball nerd. That’s what I call him. That’s a good thing, though.”

So, should we just go ahead and rename the 2010-11 season, ”Revenge of the Nerds V: Nerds in Chicago”?

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail tobrohrbach@weei.com or a Twitter message to @brohrbach.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Erik Ainge, Ray Allen
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