Road Trip Drops C’s Out Of Playoff Mix

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers laid his frustration at the feet of the referees.

“It’s hard to win games on the road when a team goes to the line like that and we don’t go to the line,” said Rivers, unhappy with the San Antonio Spurs’ lopsided free-throw differential, 20 to the Celtics’ eight.

Kevin Garnett piled on the refs, too, only blaming the Spurs’ AT&T Center as being one tough place to play and, therefore, to get a call.

“These guys [the Spurs] are a well-oiled machine. This place is one hard place to play in,” Garnett said Saturday night after the Spurs added to the Celtics’ misery with a 103-88 victory. “You are not going to get many calls in here to begin with. It’s your team versus whoever else is in here. We did have some fans in the stands but when you come here it is a tough place to play.”

OK, but that would not explain the Celtics’ stunning success in San Antonio over the years. Boston had won the last five meetings in South Texas going back to the Spurs’ last home win against the Celtics on Dec. 9, 2005, back when San Antonio had only half of its eventual four championship banners hanging in the rafters.

The Spurs and Celtics are often compared as mirror images from different conferences because of their aging stars. Both teams advanced  to their respective conference’s final playoff round last season, but San Antonio, bolstered by a youthful, sharpshooting supporting case, is again rolling at 19-6 with an impressive point-differential of plus-7.8.

The Celtics woke up this morning out of the Eastern Conference playoff mix at 12-11, with a concerning minus-0.5 point-differential.

San Antonio, a terrific 3-point shooting team, killed Boston from beyond the arc, hitting 12-of-25. In Friday’s loss at Houston, the Rockets drained 10-of-27. Defending the 3-point shot has been a recurring issue for these Celtics, ranking in the bottom half of the league.

Boston reached its high-water mark for the season at 12-9 at home last week when it barely held on at home to beat a mediocre Dallas team in overtime. Then came the two road losses at Houston and San Antonio to drop Boston to an unaccustomed 4-7 on the road.

Next up is a four-game stretch against East foes, culminating on Christmas Day at struggling Brooklyn.

Getting back to East play might seem like a good thing. Only the Celtics are 7-8 against its own conference, which is clearly the weaker of the two.

Boston has passed the quarter point of its season. Those sunny preseason forecasts for another East finals run to challenge the Miami Heat are shrouded by low-hanging clouds.


  1. CELTICS-HOORAH-UBUNTU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Mladen says:

    Green is a greatguy, but isn’t a good fit for C’s. Trade Green for a decent rebounder defending center/power forward and add in a free agent small forward – ie. someone like McGrady? Green is softening the team down with his difficulties on defense. We need Bradley back also!

    Terry, make a better effort to push yourself and other new guys to step it up. If Terry improves and leads new guys by example of hard work and on-court grind, others will follow it.

    Go C’s!

  3. GreenAllDay Baby-GO GET IT-BANNER 18!!!!! THIS YEAR!!! 🙂

  4. Justin C. Young Sr says:

    If you are an all time Celtic fan as I am, you have a rare ability to Walk in the gym shoes of the Celtic Players, year after year. In the near future the Celtics will not only Jell as a team, but make a major trade and or pickup that will send them over the top and deep into the playoffs with a good possibility to be in the fiinals. Mark my WORD!!!!!

  5. Nas says:

    Calm down, have you guys not watched the Celtics for the past 3 seasons. Their worst season of the past 3 was the one where they had the best record compared to the other two (2011). They were pretty mediocre and people were saying they were too old in both 2010 and 2012, and they reached they were one game away from the finals in the latter and one game away from a championship in the former. They’ll come around when its polayoff time.

  6. Sloppy Joe says:

    Wizard are #1!!!

  7. renz_garnett says:

    man.. everyone knows that they can make it to the playoffs.. maybe they will finish between 2-5 in the east..

  8. LS says:

    I agree with the other comments that it’s too early in the season to count the Celtics out. I’ll let Doc and the players figure out how to make this work. I am a Celtic fan so whether they win or lose, make the finals or not, they’re my team. Go Celtics!

  9. i hear u bnner18-it’s not even 1/4 thru the season & people r already talkn bout playoffs, playoffs. listen people, the same things were said last year & not many people thought Celts were gonna make it as far as they did & they could have burned the heat in game 6 & make the finals-i know i expected it. as season continues Celts will be fine & they’ll be the beast’s of the east to beat!!!

  10. Sean says:

    The reason the Mavs won with Terry was because of his excellent shooting ability beyond the arc…. If you look at the Knicks and Spurs… They have such fine 3 point shooters… They just bury their opponents with their beyond arc shooting… either to cut the deficit or gain a big margin lead.

    C’s have it in them… They have got Terry… Truth… Lee…

    Rondo who also has improved a lot on shooting the jumpers and beyond the arc when he attempts.. He should may be shoot the ball when laft a little lose taking to advantage rather than finding players. Also Green, a player who has improved a lot and has shown tremendous potential..

    As far as offence is concerned… They need to be working on their outside shooting to cut the deficits and improve the lead. If they do, they will be a team with who can dominate from the start, till the end.

    As far as Chemistry and Defense is concerned… Chemistry?? Its time we stop using that excuse because the Teams doing great. Defensively?? Not at all. C’s have to be a little more athletic.. more talking, more understanding and avoiding mismatches on the defense. I wish Avery would be back soon. C’s also have to be able to stop the Teams from shooting beyond the Arc.

    KG, Rondo and Pierce are no doubt playing excellent… Pierce has to improve a bit.. He has to be able deliver for the C’s always… I want to see Truth Rondo and Pierce relive the moment of 2008 Championship…. The Celtics 18th win…

  11. DC says:

    Just had to do a double-take. I swear I’ve read this article before. Oh wait, I did.. or something very similar to it around the same time last year. I’ll wait to take their measure til after the All-star break once again. Hopefully that will give the new faces enough time to imprint the defensive schemes as second nature backed by the return of AV. They made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference with a injury depleted roster last year. They had AV out, Green out, Wilcox out, Ray Allen with bone spurs, and Peirce with knee and thigh injuries all through the playoffs. They have the talent (just like the Lakers), they just need to find their rhythym. I believe they will just as I believe the Lakers will.

    That said, the C’s aren’t playing good basketball right now. Rondo was well below average the last two games and Peirce is a poster boy for inefficency right now. Terry, Wilcox, Sulinger and Green are having consistent defensive problems and Lee and Green have yet to find their offensive rhythm (though the later of the two was looking more sharp before the recent Texas roadtrip). Once their defense comes round their offense should start to be more consistent.

  12. RondoNiac says:

    Rondo is doing awesome, garnett seems like a rookie,but pierce is not bad he just needs to stop shooting so much ! They just need chemestry as a team and theyll be fine ! give green a little bit more time hes young let him be in his comfort !

  13. steagle says:

    Typical Celtic bashing from the NBA press, nothing less than I’ve come to expect over the last few years. Celtics have a deeper team than last year but are having defensive problems due to lack of established chemistry. This results in poor rotations, perimeter and transition defense, but it will start coming together when everyone has had more time together. This isn’t a Miami team with a superstar near the prime of his career that just got the league’s best player added to his team (2010-2011 Miami squad). This is a team of veterans, all-stars but no dominant superstar (though Rondo is nearly there). For Boston to have come as far as it has is a testament to the coaching ability of Doc Rivers, the management of Danny Ainge and the “buy-in” mentality of its players Give the C’s some credit and give them some TIME to come together.

  14. ryjr911 says:

    They’re crying about calls and getting to FT line? Celtics lost by 15 points! Duh…

  15. StereotypicalFan says:

    Waaaa, you said they are currently not in the playoff mix. You’re not allowed to mention the playoffs until the fourth quarter of the season. Anyone who expects the Celtics might not make the playoffs is a fool.

    Oh, I almost forgot: RONDO MVP!!!1one

  16. Banner 18 says:

    Man I didn’t know the playoffs started already…Another short season???

  17. Rom says:

    Definitely a playoff team with some chances for conf semis. To little drive and energy though to win anything more. Sorry for Rondo…

  18. KB says:

    Honestly, there’s no movement, ball or player movement, and no type of spacing on the court. The last few games I’ve watched has led me to believe that. And little more athleticism on the team couldn’t hurt also. Against houston and san antonio, they hardly moved around the court. They need to move around alot more to keep other teams off balanced on the defense. They’re not going into the paint hard enough and their defense is atrocious compared to what we’re used to seeing the last 5 seasons. Too much switching on the defense giving the other team mismatch advantages and way too much double teaming for my liking. Rondo is the best PG in my opinion but the ball’s in his hand entirely too much. If KG isn’t on the floor on defense and Rondo not on the court running the offense, we’re in major trouble almost 24/7. Doc needs to look at those problems first and foremost. And besides Terry, no one else is really contributing other than the starters.

  19. Luis says:

    Hope the celtics get back to the wins they used to play so well.

  20. Andro says:

    Celtic for life!
    Just do it together

  21. KGFan says:

    The offense is the reason they generally shoot fewer free throws than their opponents. They’re a perimeter oriented team that relies on mid range jump shots and threes for the most part. Rondo probably has the most paint points for the entire team.

    Doc, you’re an extremely intelligent coach, start trying to work the ball inside to Pierce on the block (or anywhere you can get a mismatch) if you want to get back to the line.

  22. Harold Mangum says:

    I am from the west, It seems crazy to most fans that LAL and the Celtics has the right to cry about lopsided refs. All other teams are painfully aware of how the Refs favor the Celtics and the Lakers, year after year.

    It is not the Celtics pride or the Lakers Showtime that keeps them going year after year, It is paying high price for players and paying refs.

    • celtic533 says:

      Since when did the Celtics become famous for getting calls.We all know superstars get calls but Boston has no superstar at a Kobe,Carmelo,Kevin Durant type level that gets a player to free throw line at least 7 times a game and usually more.

  23. MIchael says:

    Why in the heck are they talking about playoffs when we have many, many games left to play. We havent even got to the All Star Break. Stupid writers, if it was closer to the break, yea perhaps I would understand but not at this juncture when the season is just beginning, still lots can happen.

  24. Ali says:

    Really? Um I don’t think so. It’s a little early my friend.

  25. Brendan says:

    it is way to early tell how the Celtics will do in the playoffs. I think if they come together they can beat the heat it wont be easy but they can do it they have the talent its just can they stay healthy and rested. I would make one suggestion to the Celtics which is go out there offer some players or player other than Rondo, KG, Paul, Terry or Green and get a big that can rebound the basketball and block some shots that is all the CELTICS really need.

    • Trevor says:

      Other than those guys who do they even have to trade. There is nobody worth a decent big .

    • Mo says:

      Man it doesn’t look good now. We all know they will start playing much harder as the season ends. We will be in the playoffs. The thing is, can we beat Miami? I think we can. Only if Jeff Green get more comfortable on the field and Doc made him mature RIGHT NOW. I mean i know what i will be getting from KG, Pierce,Terry, and Rondo. I Just want green to chip in as well

  26. aaaaaa says:

    With 10 new players this season, this can be expected. I’d expect this season to be similar to last, where they begin to get going after the all-star break. Common, it’s the Celtics, do you really expect them not to be in the playoff mix?

  27. Celtics Fan says:

    Lets go Celtics !! Im with them till the end!