Celtics lead NBA’s Winless Nine

 

A moment of reflection and empathy, please, for the NBA’s Winless Nine.

If this were a normal season and 30 percent of the league’s franchises were headed toward the New Year still in search of their first victories, there would be blood in the streets. Somebody would have NBA schedule-maker Matt Winick’s head on a pike, too, for somehow failing to match up the Winless Nine in the season’s first two months to make sure that a few of them at least beat the others to get off the list.

This is not a normal season, obviously, so we’re faced with the prospect of multiple teams and countless NBA fans listing among their usual resolutions to cut back on the Cheez Doodles this desperate vow: “Our team will win a game in 2012!”

Here at the Hang Time Hideout, we won’t belabor you with a list of the Winless Nine. They’re easy enough to spot near the bottom of the various divisions, like coffee dregs. Combined, they woke up to an 0-18 record this morning. And unless the Rockets knock off San Antonio tonight in Houston or Dallas beats the Thunder at Oklahoma City, that ugly ledger will go to 0-20 with just two days of 2011 to spare.

The ugliest of the marks so far – while awaiting the defending champion Mavericks move off 0-2 – belongs to the Boston Celtics, who are 0-3 for the first time since 2006-07. Getting served up as the entrée in three straight opponents’ home-openers – at New York, at Miami and at New Orleans – isn’t supposed to happen to a team as proud and as talented as the Celtics. They’re supposed to spoil parties, not hang around as the piñatas.

The 97-78 loss to the Hornets was the worst yet. Inexcusable, as portrayed by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn:

The Celtics would be doing their loyal fan base a disservice if they blamed this one on fatigue or the demanding post-lockout schedule. Last night’s performance against the Hornets was lethargic at best, as a team that has prided itself on mental guile during the Doc Rivers era melted in the fourth quarter.

At winning time, the Celtics got outscored 25-15. They missed eight of their 13 shots in the final quarter, got burned at the other end by New Orleans’ 9-of-17 shooting and were outrebounded 12-4. Hornets forward Carl Landry grabbed four all by himself, while Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma managed just two in a combined 20 minutes, 38 seconds.

The Celtics looked dull, tired and old, and New Orleans shooting guard Eric Gordon (bruised knee) wasn’t even involved to make things worse. More Washburn:

“I wasn’t fatigued,’’ said [Ray] Allen, who led the Celtics with 15 points. “I wouldn’t use that as an excuse or reason. I felt good out there tonight. We’ve all been in this situation plenty of times before. So, that’s not an excuse for nobody.

“Our defense was terrible. Offensively, we didn’t execute. We looked scattered out there on the floor, so that’s just us and how we didn’t execute on both ends of the floor, and we know better…”

Granted, Paul Pierce (bruised heel, day-to-day) has yet to play a minute so far. But one of Boston’s strengths during the new Big Three era has been its resiliency when one of them hasn’t been available. That’s looking like a corner-turned now too.

In their first four seasons with Garnett, Allen and Pierce together, the Celtics were 40-20 in games Garnett missed, with 6-7 in 2009-10 their only sub-.500 result in KG’s absence. In the 16 games missed by Allen, Boston still went 12-4. Without Pierce, the Celts’ record in those four seasons was 9-7.

As 2012 approaches, the Celtics won’t be getting any younger. Kendrick Perkins (never mind the green ghosts of championships past) won’t be walking through their locker room door to cure their ills in the paint. They get their home opener Friday, playing before fans that will muster up noise and loyalty at the Garden while either worrying more than they’d care to admit or drowning the denial in suds for an evening.

The good news for the Winless Nine is that one of them – either the Celtics or the Detroit Pistons, that night’s foe – will scramble off the list. There will be one another guaranteed winner Friday when Houston (if it’s still one of the Nine) plays at Memphis. But the other 11 games featuring the Oh-Fers between now and that big ball dropping in Times Square offer no such assurances. It’s still possible that a Winless Seven still might be facing a Cranky New Year.

59 Comments

  1. SH2 says:

    The Celtics are still good and are still a contender to be champions (again). Most good teams start off rough but during the course of the season begin to smooth it out. Keep on pushing Celtics, i’ll always be a fan

  2. Ao1 says:

    I’m not a Celtic fan but I’m sure they’re ok. I know they’ll bounce back…

  3. AMS says:

    Celtics are 0-3 with one real bad loss to NO. Doc is a great coach and the Celts will get it together. KG is my main concern, but he has a lot of pride and will get after it. No excuses for this team.. No team can play their starters 40 minutes plus every night. It wont work with this condensed schedule Boston will really need their second team to jell and develop their roles. Nick, you have a great team in Miami and they are playing a style that fits their athleticism. Much respect to them.

  4. Fact says:

    Bad gamble by Celtics
    Doc Rivers should have conceded during 3rd quarter against the Miami Heat to rest his starters in preparation for the New Orleans Hornets, but instead he gambled that his team can overcome Miami Heat and didn’t expect a rookie like Norris Cole to foil his plans. Next time, he should follow Greg Popovich’s concede tactics.

  5. Lola says:

    The Boston Bruins started off as badly too and look at where they are on the NHL table. If by late January we are not one of the top 3 teams in the East then there will be cause to worry in Celtics land. Right now, I still believe.

  6. jlil89 says:

    Yeah but the fact that Pierce, Green AND Peitrius are out as the SF position is not a good thing by any means. The C’s had to rely on a couple noobs to cover Melo and Lebron and look how that went. No comment on the New Orleans game….

  7. Jus says:

    It’s alright. Its just three games into the season. Anyone else find it odd that the Hornets are the number one in their divison?? haha I can see the rapture coming. Once Pierce is back we will have a good starting lineup. Pav and Daniels are alright but not consistent with the shots and defense.

  8. 2012NBA Fan says:

    Well, I wouldn’t be worried, although it is concerning how they lost to the Hornets. But if they lose to DETROIT…..DETROIT, they will be in bad shape. Also to note that Paul Pierce is NOT Lebron James. Adding Paul Pierce is not going to drastically make Boston better. Side note: Miami last year in clutch situations(5 seconds or less), 0-16. This season, 1-1.

  9. Elliot says:

    Peirce injured, coming off games away playing top 4 seeded teams (Knicks, Heat) playing 3 games in 4 days none at home, while NOH had only played 1 game before Boston. NBA has stripped Oneal and Pavlovic of those 2 techs against the Knicks (there for Boston would of won by 2 pts) This rotation Doc has going clearly isnt working the Bradly + Dooling combo is aweful and the 5 minute burst Doc has KG running is just dumb. Boston aren’t gonna win it this year or for a while, what I don’t get is why everyone kicks them when they’re down but the lakers go 0-2 and everyone says not to write them off despite Kobe being injured. If Boston are the blue print and Miami are the new and improved then how come you didn’t go 67-15 (or better) last season, sweep teams in the play offs and destroy Dallas in the finals? You can bash Boston all you want but at the end of the day they’re better than most, including the Heat.

  10. Sp says:

    Jarrett Jack woke up this morning trying really hard to remember who Chris Paul is…

  11. martin says:

    It’s still early season… Celtics played great against NY. But im questioning Garnett. Guy looks old, cant run and talks too much trash. I think he needs to get his act together and play better. Rondo cant to it all by himself out there, Especially not with Pierce being out of the loop.

  12. kenneth says:

    Please tell me how this Celtics team will “bounce back?”

    During a full season, they always have a great start and ends up losing later in the year due to fatigue.

    With a 66 game compressed season, they started off terribly and they will be even more tired due to the barrage of games that they will have.

    Unless they have discovered a shop that sells fresh legs, don’t expect this team to go higher than 4th/5th seed

    • Jack says:

      4th or 5th? Expect no less than second or third. They’ll ‘bounce back’ with Paul Pierce, their best scorer. With him Boston could easily be 2-1, possibly 3-0. When they’re healthy, they’ll be just as good as they were last year; just wait and see..

  13. Celtics says:

    the Celtics are still a great team, they gave a good fight versus the heat and knicks
    when paul pierce comes back, and injuries aren’t an issue, they’ll be back

  14. bianna says:

    I really wish Paul Pierce could play. They would be 3-0 with him

  15. Paul Singarella says:

    Boston is playing inconsistent basketball and that is their main problem. They have these scoring bursts but then get fatigued and end up blowing leads and such. Once the Celtics get Paul Pierce back and play consistent basketball like everyone knows they can. They are a force to be reckoned with in the east.

  16. danny says:

    just because their down 0-3 the media, is like their old, and they cant do it. Next you know their back winning 10-0 and the media will be like their getting their game together thats just how the media works. Boston was close in NY and Mia, winnable games down the stretch w/o pierce. OR Pietrus i might add a better shooter/defender than marquies daniels.
    Lets not forget miami started slow last season, they were 0-3 against the celtics and they made it to the finals so, dont count them out we will get an idea by april.

  17. ahmed says:

    I’m a fan of the Boston team, although I live in Sweden, the team lost three games in a row is sad but the league is long and they can overcome this crisis, they have good players and a great coach I hope to inform Thiami to all the Celtic players with the best wishes for them to win the next matches

  18. Nick says:

    I wonder if K.G.will still be running his mouth all season even though he looks terrible? Only positive I can see for Boston is that they play Detroit next. Maybe if they lose that game Ainge will finally get fed up and trade his best player (Rondo) like he has so desperately wanted to…dumb, dumb, dumb.

  19. Nick says:

    Boston could have beat Miami??? You must not have seen the game, which ended close but never was — as Lebron and Wade did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. I even hate the Heat, but they looked damn good and were up by what, 30, and sat Lebron for like an hour? No way you can say they should have won that game. Celtics suck, so now their play finally matches their personalities and demeanor.

    • Jaykwan says:

      The Heat went up by 20 and Lebron played 36 minutes in that game (he played 36 against Dallas and 39 against Charlotte).

      Anyway, you can say Boston “shouldn’t” have won the game, but they definitely could have. True, Wade and Lebron played very well, but they weren’t the ones who sunk the Celtics after that rally–it was their rookie.

      An 0-3 start for the Celtics looks bad, especially that blowout in New Orleans sans Eric Gordon; but don’t write them off yet. Some stars need to align for a real Celtics run in the postseason, mostly injury-less stars–that might not be unlikely.

  20. Will says:

    I’m a Heat fan (not a bandwagon person. Been following D-Wade since he went through Marquette University) For any of these fans, especially so called Heat “fans,” to disrespect the Celtics is absolutely ridiculous. They always will be a dangerous team. Their titles speak for themselves. They may be a bit older, but they still know how to play. Do not forget that they almost rallied past the Heat two days ago. The Celtics will be back. I can guarantee that. I’m almost sure they’ll be in the playoffs, too.

  21. Chris says:

    We will trade you westbrook for rondo straight up.

  22. artu says:

    even without pierce they still have three all stars out there well its too early to say anything so just and wait and see what happens

  23. C's says:

    Ok, The loss to the hornets was because of horrible refs! Even the commentators were screaming at those referees. The refs changed the momentum for the entire game. They were TERRIBLE!

  24. GREENTEAM! says:

    We lost by less than 10 point against some of the best teams in the east, You all just kiicking them while their down you still gotta dealwith the fact that if your a knick or a heattha the knicks got beat 4-0 in the playoffs by those C’s and the heat became nothing in the finals. At the end of the day the big four from boston will be there in the playoffs Pierce is out one of our best scorers an dpietrus has yet to play. nothing good was gonna come out of having pavlovic play starter we knew that. BUt theyre are upsides rondo and Ray Ray had two 20 + point nightsand that was wiithout our best scorer, if they keep playing like that a pierce comes back as himself we will have one blistering offense to start andanice bench form what weve seen against miami and NY. SO the C’s are far from out they are just shorhanded. its no excuse for the lossgainst NOLA but i know detroitis gonna get whipped!

  25. DrGuj27 says:

    I am a Celtics Fan, It’s a long season! We don’t have “Pierce” or “Pietris” yet (The guys Garnett can kick out to, when double teamed). Ray Ray has been the only shooter basicallly. All the losing will just enlighten the celts to go even harder.

  26. Da Wolf says:

    As a Celtic fan I can say this: not having Paul Pierce was not an excuse for the way we were utterly destroyed against the Hornets. The Hornets didn’t have their own star player, Eric Gordon, and STILL dominated us! There are some bright points for the Celtics though, as they were able to play leveled with a healthy Knicks and the Heat. Once Pierce comes back, I expect us to dominate, but his absence was not an excuse for the loss against the Hornets. Like mattman said, the Mavs have a MUCH bigger problem at this point, with their star player playing like a bum.

    • NBA says:

      Boston’s “real” problem seems to be their mental consistency. Their game with the Knicks proves it. When they flipped the switch and started attacking they caught up from being down…like 17 or something? And it was only at the final moment did they lose. They have rediculous talent, and probably the best coach in the NBA second to the retired Phil Jackson.

      Their game with the heat is another example of mental toughness. They were getting dominated, brought it back to a close game, and just couldnt get the win. If Boston went out form the VERY start of 1st quarter. With their mental toughness – the thoughnes we have all seen before, then they would be undefeated no doubt.

      The same could be said for LA. They lost 1 guy, and we all know Kobe and Gasol were the true game winners on that team. And they still have them both. You can argue its Bynum being out, just like you can argue its Pierce being out. But inreality it takes a team effort and a mental toughness. LA has lost that right now. And if I had to guess its because they lost their leader. Phil Jackson was their “father” so to speak, and id be willing to bet Kobe feels like its on him now. Mark Brown may be coach – but he’s not “coach.”

      Boston will bounce back soon. But as a Celtic fan, I still think the Heat and OKC will meet in the finals. There is so much talent in the NBA, but its hunger and determination every game that gets you to the goal.

    • COD14 says:

      I don’t think that Eric Gordon is their star player, and even if he is, Carl Landry and Vasquez picked up the slack. I will say that they played terrible, but just because Pierce isn’t playing doesn’t mean they can’t win a game. In past years they made up for his loss.

  27. Jared says:

    Being down 0-3 doesn’t really concern me to be honest. We would’ve beat MIA and NY if we didn’t let the lead hit over 15. Even so, once Paul Pierce gets back, things will definitely turn around. Don’t count the Celtics out yet.

  28. airphilippines says:

    thats the reason why david west opted indiana pacers rather than celtics…”“Our defense was terrible. Offensively, we didn’t execute. We looked scattered out there on the floor,” say it again ray allen..say it again hahaha

  29. Nii Nue says:

    Please it is just 3 games and not 18. Gosh! What kind of analysis is this. The season just started and you know its just 66 games and you talking as if we have already started an 82 game season. Yes for Boston and Mavs its a surprise to be 0 – 3 but do not exaggerate stuff. Wait for the season to end.

  30. Steve says:

    They havent played 1 home game yet, and they dont have pierce. You guys can hate paul pierce, kg, and rondo all you want (i dont think anyone hates Ray Ray), but they will be around at the end of the year.

    • cgordon64 says:

      not only don’t we have paul pierce but they dont have the guy that was supposed to back him up. green who is out for the season and also they don’t have newly signed peitrius. when they all are there then we will see what happens they are not in trouble yet not by a long shot.

  31. steagle says:

    Y’all need to cut them some slack. When Pierce is back and they get some home wins under their belt, they will be back in the swing of things. The Celtics cannot win a game without Pierce this season. I’m a diehard Celtics fan and even I have to admit that. As much as people want to say that Boston is a team first and foremost and everyone else can pick up the slack when one guy is out, the fact remains, the C’s do not have any one else who can score as consistently as Pierce. If Pierce had been in the NYK and MIA games it would have been a much different outcome. Those teams – considered the 1st and 3rd best in the East this year – barely beat a crippled Celtics, and at their home arenas, no less. Let’s face it – the C’s have had the hardest opening of pretty much any team this year between the 3 straight road games against top tier teams and their Captain out to injury.

  32. Simple says:

    If its the end of them, then it would be the end of a LEGEND NBA. As they are the LEGENDARYS!

  33. Rondo says:

    Shot Celtics you da you da best. The Heat were having trouble last year as well so don’t count them out yet.

  34. jvrcd says:

    It hurts now, and we have to take all the jokes, but it will get better for us celtics fans.

  35. Memo56 says:

    If you think the celtics are done you have no knowledge of basketball, the Lakers and Mavs are in trouble

    • Gilman says:

      I want to know why you think the mavs and lakers are done… Boston is done. KG isnt the same but Ray allen still has the money shot. You cant win a championship with KG anymore.

  36. Plazmarox09 says:

    The Celtics are a very good and dangerous team, and while I’m a Knicks fan, the Celtics are in a little slump which will go away soon. Just because they’re 0-3 to start off doesn’t mean they’re a team to get an easy win from.

  37. Shaken Balls says:

    Laugh all you want. Yeah their 0-3 only 1 game behind the Lakers and half a game behind the Mavs. These are teams that can and will bounce back. Teams that has aging stars but has won championships that most of the young wannabes only dream of having. So don’t count them out just yet. :P

  38. Jennifer says:

    This is only the beginning, the celtics will comeback.

  39. grim says:

    The End for KG, Rondo, Paul the pusycat pierce & Celtics Fans, hahahahaha!

    • HeatvsOKCfinals says:

      Not for Rondo, but the others yes. Celts need to build around Rondo. Unless he decides he wants to leave, and I wouldn’t be to surprised.

      • Bill says:

        I am a Bulls fan, and i agree that the “big three in Boston” are a bunch of pussies. They were against the Bulls a few years ago in the playoffs and hasn’t changed since

    • Celticdude says:

      WOULD YOU JUST BE QUIET???! this is a team without paulpierce, thei rcaptain

  40. mattman says:

    the celtics have had a tough couple of games, all of which were winnable except for the NOH blowout..keep in mind that they don’t have paul pierce back from his foot injury, but they just seem a little slow this season..long offseason perhaps?..I don’t expect them to stay winless for long because like I said, the MIA and the NYK games were close games that they lost in the 4th quarter..the mavs have bigger issues than the Celts at this point

    mindofmattman.blogspot.com

    • steagle says:

      Agreed. While I attribute Boston’s losses to the lack of their Captain Paul Pierce and to a grueling road trip to start the season, Dallas really has no excuse. They made more key player changes and simply do not seem to have the same spark or chemistry. Granted we’re only a couple games into the season but they just look flat and I seriously doubt they will be back to the Finals.

  41. shakenbake says:

    Haha Celtics winless? where are the Celtics fans? speechless?

    • Jason M says:

      I am a Celtic fan, Pats fan, Red Sox fan, and Bruins fan. How many titles has your town won????? Keep worshiping Lebron and Wade (i’m sure your a heat fan who lives in Ohio). You would probably get beat up if you told your real city you love the heat….I’ll stick with the real title town…

    • Peter says:

      Celtics have played their first three games of the season after only 2 weeks to prepare with a team that (aside from 5 players) haven’t played together before. They played against two of the top SF’s in the NBA (Carmello and Lebron) with all three of their legit SF’s (Green, Pierce, Peitrus) out – they started Pavolvic for goodness sake!

      The resutls of this were clear, as they turned the ball over like no tomorrow and looked stagnant on offense (lack of Chemistry) and got destroyed by both Carmello and Lebron in the first two games (with no one to defend them).

      Still they pushed both games down to the last 2 minutes and had a chance to win both.

      The NO game was just a poort effort…they played terrible the entire game and outside of Steisma’s defense there was nothing positive to take out of it…but every team has ‘stinker’ games, and losing by 2 points and 5 points to the Knicks and Heat is perfectly respectable given their circumstances.

      I see no reason to be concerned yet…and the play of Allen, Rondo and their bench has given plenty to be positive about.