|Irish Coffee: 5 awful Celtics statistics, 1 good one||02.21.12 at 12:55 pm ET|
Following a 89-73 loss to the Mavericks, the Celtics dropped to 15-16 and the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed (just two games ahead of the lowly Cavaliers) — the worst start to any season of the Kevin Garnett era.
Facing the Thunder on Wednesday night without the suspended Rajon Rondo and possibly sans KG (personal reasons), things don’t stand to get any better, especially with injuries to bigs Jermaine O’Neal (wrist), Chris Wilcox (adductor) and Brandon Bass (knee).
Should all be unavailable in the team’s final game before the All-Star break, the C’s starting center midway through the 2011-12 season will come down to a choice between rookies Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson. Generally, that’s the kind of thing that happens when a team enters the year with an injury-plagued 15-year veteran as its only established center. Not to mention Kendrick Perkins will be starting for the opposing team.
In some respect Celtics president Danny Ainge had to see this coming, although nobody could have expected them to be this bad. Here are five shockingly awful statistics the 2011-12 Celtics have produced.
1. In the first four seasons since the arrival of Garnett and Ray Allen prior to the 2007-08 season, the Celtics never lost 6-of-7 games. This year, they’ve had two such stretches in two months (Jan. 6-20 and the present “run”).
2. Dropping to 26th among 30 NBA teams in points scored, the Celtics haven’t scored more than 95 points in eight straight games. In the shot clock era (since the 1954-55 season), the Celtics have had only three other streaks of such woeful offense: From Dec. 30, 2000 to Jan. 12, 2001 (8 games), from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4, 2006 (9 games) and from Oct. 31 to Nov. 26, 2003 (13 games). Two of those teams failed to make the playoffs, and the other got swept in the first round of the 2003 NBA playoffs.
3. After allowing 13 offensive rebounds in Detroit on Monday night, the Celtics have now allowed 11 or more offensive boards in seven straight games. That has only happened one other time in this current Big Three Era, from Dec. 31, 2010 to Jan. 10, 2011 — a seven-game stretch during which Glen Davis started for an injured KG.
4. The Celtics have also not shot better than 50 percent as a team in any of the seven games. That’s only happened four times since the start of the 2007 season. It’s now happened twice in the last two months, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 20 (10 games) and from Feb. 9 to the present. Not coincidentally, those two streaks have coincided with the two 1-6 stretches this season.
5. The Celtics rank dead last in the NBA in rebounding. Eight of the last nine teams to finish the regular season last on the glass failed to reach the playoffs, and the ninth team (the 2004-05 Grizzlies) got swept in the first round. Those nine clubs had a combined .363 winning percentage.
Really, the only thing the Celtics have going for them is the fact that their defense has ranked at or near the top of the league in points allowed (they currently allow 87.5 points per game, second to the Bulls at 87.3).
Since 2000, only four of the 12 teams that led the league in defense also ranked as low as the current Celtics in offense (26th). Those four teams won a combined two playoff games, and none got out of the first round.
The good news? The 2003-04 Pistons owned the league’s best defense, ranked 24th in points scored and won the NBA championship. Of course, that team ranked in the top half of the league in rebounding. So, that leaves Danny Ainge one option if the Celtics have any interest in salvaging this season before entering full-blown rebuilding mode:
sign Rasheed Wallace Find somebody who can rebound the damn ball.
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