Is It Time To Count The Celtics Out?

a

NEW YORK – At some point, we’re going to have to write off the Boston Celtics as a group that just can’t hang with the best teams in the NBA.

Is it now?

When Carmelo Anthony drove right past Kevin Garnett for a dunk late in the third quarter on Tuesday, was that some sort of symbolism?

Celtics efficiency by half, Games 1-2
Half PTS POSS OffRtg
1st 101 88 114.8
2nd 48 84 57.1

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions

After getting shut down in the second half for the second straight game, Boston trails their first round series with the New York Knicks 0-2. Start preparing the obituary. Just hold off on hitting the “publish” button.

The Celtics certainly seem outmatched in this series. They’ve had their moments in the first two games, but they just haven’t had the offense to keep pace with the potent Knicks for a full game. New York deserves some credit for the way it has defended in the second half, both on Saturday and on Tuesday. But the Celtics’ offense has been largely responsible for turning a below-average defensive team in the regular season into the best defensive team of the playoffs thus far.

But we’ve seen this before. We remember the Celtics getting thumped in Game 3 at home against Cleveland in the 2010 conference semifinals before eventually reaching Game 7 of The Finals. We remember them going down 0-2 to the Heat last season before winning the next three games.

Is this the time they don’t come back? Is this the first time this group loses in the first round?

Maybe Rajon Rondo‘s absence has finally caught up to them. The lack of a real point guard has been dreadfully apparent as the Celtics have struggled to get into their offense whenever the Knicks have applied any kind of perimeter pressure.

“We let them get inside our plays and it was to their advantage,” Avery Bradley, point guard by default, said. “We were getting shots up like three seconds into the shot clock every time down the floor.”

Maybe Garnett and Paul Pierce just can’t carry a team like they used to. Pierce has been defended by smaller players all series, but he’s still had to force a lot of contested shots. Garnett has had better looks at the basket, but has shot 8-for-21 (38 percent) in the two games. There shouldn’t be any doubt now that the Knicks have the two best offensive players in the series.

Maybe Boston’s supporting cast just isn’t good enough to support their two remaining (and aging) stars. Their back-up guards have shot a combined 7-for-26 (27 percent) and their back-up bigs have played a combined nine minutes. While Mike Woodson can call on Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith and dependable veterans Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin off his bench, Doc Rivers has no one he can count on beyond his starters.

We believe the Celtics are too proud, too tough and too defensive-minded to go down without a fight. But in these last six seasons, this is the lowest they’ve finished in the standings, this is the worst they’ve been defensively, and this is the best team they’ve faced in the first round.

Ask Rivers a question about how his team has responded to adversity over the last six years, and he’ll be quick to point out that “This is not that group. This is not the group we’ve had. This is a bunch of new guys, with two guys [who've been there before].”

Game 2, an 87-71 defeat, was somewhat of a carbon copy of Game 1, except that the Knicks’ second-half storm was much worse and the game was essentially over midway through the third quarter, after New York scored 23 points in a stretch of 11 possessions.

“They just attacked us,” Rivers said, “and we didn’t handle it very well.”

Anthony was more efficient and Raymond Felton was more aggressive in the pick-and-roll, ultimately creating better ball movement for the Knicks.

Now, the Celtics must find a way to win Game 3 at home on Friday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). They must hope that their regular season home-road discrepancy (second largest in the league) applies to the postseason. Over the last two years, they’ve been a much better defensive team at the TD Garden than they’ve been away from it.

Of course, defense isn’t enough. The Celtics must find a way to score … for more than two quarters.

“We can defend this team,” Garnett said Tuesday. “If we’re able to put some points up on the board, I like our chances.”

Right now, that looks like a huge “if.” These just aren’t the same Celtics … right?

“We are who we are,” Rivers said. “We can’t apologize for that. That’s what we’ve been left with. I think it’s enough to win.”

Only time will tell.

73 Comments

  1. Celts 13 says:

    Celtics played 5 excellent quarters in the last 2 games, but the 3 poor quarters hurt them profoundly. How a team can be so bad and inconsistent in second halves (after giving decent first half efforts) ?, is a situation I’ve been trying to understand since Rondo went down.

  2. And you should be nervous for good reason-watch what the Celtics do to them the next few games!!!

  3. @knicks101-ahhh-drrrr-which one is it the knocks or the knicks-your so nervous that your team is going to get beat that you forget how to spell their name & cut & paste the same S!?!-ahh-doink!

  4. Kamote says:

    hype them up… no playoff team is out until they lose 4 games.

  5. kobe been says:

    I Love The Celtics !! All options are still Possible for them to advance to the next round ,,they just to play consistent!!!Maybe this series is going to another 7 games !!!which Celtics always love.. BOSTON in 7

  6. Bangerboi95 says:

    I believe the celtics are still in the race. They have to regroup and come together as a team to defend there name. Winning games in the nba may be hard, but by them believing in themselves can and will take them a long way in the playoffs.

  7. ken says:

    Kicks in 5, and all the way to miami, see ya greens….

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      There is NO WAY the knicks will get past the Pacers …The Pacers have a real team, Carmelo’s fat face can score 50 and the knicks will still lose…That is why Dantoni wanted Melo gone for a real point guard to be able to play TEAM BASKETBALL, not Melo’s fat self jacking up 25-30 shots a game and hoping that will cut it in the playoffs..maybe vs Boston, but everybody knows Boston is weak right now, Melo will finally get out of the 1st round for the first time in his life, but the Pacers will knock the knicks off in 4 or 5, wouldnt be surprised if they sweep the knicks ..
      #GoHeat

  8. theholyspectator says:

    how can you c fans expect for the men in green to win? with the exception of garnett and pierce, no one else is steppin up…the jet has to put in 20-25 consistently and green the same for them to have a good shot at winning, pierce and garnett are just too old slow men…they cant compete with the younger knicks maybe for 24 minutes but not for 48..why are people so surprised that the c’s are gonna be done? the home crowd element may help boston win 1 game but knicks will split it there and come back to wrap it up in game 5. i understand you die hard boston fans but lets keep it real…you saw what knicks did to them in back to back games..less than 25 points in each 2nd half of both games? lol not gonna cut it…this is why rondo is so valuable…sure they may have won games during regular season to get to the playoffs without him..but rondo was the one who create easy looks and is a guy who can create his own shot and can get others involved…without him boston aint goin no where but straight into the offseason…i admire you c fans for stickin up for your team, but us realistic people know the real “truth”…pun intended

  9. knickstape says:

    Yo all u haters hating on the knicks can f**k off..I luv that all u celtic fans r complaining about the refs.wen we should b complaining wen refs r anti-knicks so nobody likes the ref treatment their team gets that’s wut we go through nite in nite out so call the wambulance & take it like a man…& sorry 2 let u know knicks r goin to eastern conference finals vs heat & it’s gonna b war!! So buckle up & enjoy the show…I laugh at celtic fans they don’t wanna let go…if it makes you feel better keep writing your pathetic sayings about boston while I laugh..ha ha..

  10. Patty says:

    IT IS NEVER TIME TO COUNT THE CELTICS OUT. THE GENERAL MANAGER DIDNOT DO KEVIN GARNETT, PAUL PIERCE, AND CERTAINLY NOT DOC RIVERS ANY FAVORS BY NOT SURROUNDING THEM WITH GOOD PLAYERS.

    LEE, GREEN, BRADLEY ARE NOT CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYERS.

    I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT DOC RIVERS SHOULD NEVER HAVE SIGNED ON WITH THE CELTICS. THEY ARE A LOSING ORGANIZATION WITH DANNY AINGE.

    DANNY AINGE IS A LOSER.

    Rajon Rondo IS NOT THE REASON THE CELTICS ARE LOSING. THEY ARE LOSING BECAUSE DANNY AINGE HAS NOT PUT THE RIGHT BASKETBALL PLAYERS AROUND DOC RIVERS, PAUL PIERCE, AND KEVING GARNETT.

    DANNY AINGE SHOULD BE FIRED.

  11. pat says:

    WOW. NEVER COUNT OUT THE CELTICS BIG WRITER GUY.

  12. steagle says:

    It’s a tough time to be a Celtics fan. The Celtics are the first team in the shot-clock era to score 25 or fewer points in consecutive halves! I have never seen such lifeless second halves in the playoffs in recent memory. It’s not that the Knicks are dominating, it’s that the Celtics are simply running out of fuel. The strategy of going to Pierce and Green for offense isn’t working out consistently enough, and no one else is stepping up enough to be considered a threat. Yes, KG had some ridiculous fouls called on him but it’s the team’s responsibility to fill in the gap and anchor the post while KG sits.

    At this point I don’t know what the Celtics can do to generate more offense except feed off the home crowd for game 3 and 4. But even that may not be enough. And if they manage to win both games, what will their game plan be in game 5 on the road? They had one of the worst road records of any decent team in the NBA all year, and in the playoffs, that inconsistency is only amplified. I think the new players on the team are intimidated by the situation and the old players don’t have the energy to carry the team like they used to in the past. It’s all shaping up to be a disappointing exit in round 1.

  13. Dwade says:

    celtics are going to get swept

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      yup! But the Pacers arent going to play that ish with Ny next series… Carmelo’s fat face will get exposed next round!

  14. Zan Buchan says:

    How are any of you actually going to say Rondo is the best PG in the league (pure PG whatever that is). Silly comments. Celtics are done

  15. jerry says:

    Unless they lose four they are already out but there is two more games at home, nobody is out yet.

  16. bu says:

    Garnett was in foul trouble in Game 2 (touch fouls in Games 1 & 2 were called on him). Game 1 was a close one until Celtics made 2 horrible turnovers in the last 3-4 mins. They were careless & made 21 turnovers & game was still close.Game 2 Celts let slip in Q3. So I’d say the results might be a bit different quite easily. Then, if Celts took Game 1 instead, this article here would seem very stupid wouldn’t it?

    The point is, even last year with full team (no Green & Wilcox) Celts have to play near perfect almost 85%+ possessions in both Off & Def to win games. some of you might agree strange calls happened during Miami v Boston series (game 2 4 techs) & Miami v OKC. For the Celts (in respond to the topic here), they are no longer the big 3+1 era who can win games with great D & good Off. Now, everything is a grind.

    On Off, they really miss Allen as he was the only catch & shoot (well, future hall of famer too) guy. Jet is good player but notice that he is uncomfortable making catch & shoot plays. He’s more of a dribble, move, pick & roll shooter. That’s why his performance has been erratic from start of the season till now.

    In this roster, sans Rondo, ball movement & swings is key. They should also ride the hot hand more & force opponents to double. They also need to be aggressive whole game & go to the paint. 24 pts in the paint in game 2????

    Count them out? If Celts continue to play like this & throw stones on their own feet, yes, count them out. But not because they lack talent or system, but it’s mind & execution. Doc is right. This is not the same group. Clearly they’re buying into the system in the later part of the season. But just too new & a bit too late.

    Someone here said Rondo should go bec of attitude. Pl re-think how many games Rondo has been the X-factor & won the games or will the teammates to win. Think about that!!!

  17. Warchild says:

    The refs who called games 1 and 2 were F-A-G-S. New York Floppers will lose the series!

  18. Warchild says:

    Melo “the ballhog” won’t make the 2nd round. Games 4 and 5 will bleed Green, making the series 2-2. KG and PP are true warriors of the game, and will show the Knicks that it is not yet their time.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA… I agree with you, but Boston looks finished.. tired.. old.. I think the Pacers will definitely put Carmelo’s fat face in his place next round when they expose him for what he is..

  19. vic says:

    I Love CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO! GO! GO!

  20. Marjalago says:

    Pierce and Garnett are over the hill. The fact the Raymond Felton who is six inches shorter and 20 lbs lighter than Pierce is able to contain him is proof of that, Someone commented that Anthony will choke under pressure. I guess he hasn’t watched him this year, The Knicks will either sweep the Celtics or beat them in five. Avery Bradley is a great defender (sort of) but Felton made mincemeat of him in the second half. Garnett got into foul trouble because he is two steps slower than he used to be. The Knicks blew out the Celtics the last time they played in Boston during the regular season and there is absolutely no reason why they won’t do it again.

  21. choy says:

    KG still has some good years left and so does PP. Even without Rondo the C’s will still fight until the end, that’s their pride. Such a shame refs who called Games 1 and 2 favored the home team, giving the C’s no choice but to give the game to the Knicks easily. But trust me, the C’s aren’t done yet. Games 4 and 5 belong to the Celtics!!!!

  22. choy says:

    refs should make their calls fairly.

  23. W/E says:

    Celtics got owned :-/

  24. Bill says:

    Celtics play 2 at home the series will be even! GO C’s

  25. Lola says:

    I love Jeff but I think Doc needs to put him back coming off the bench to give a spark. Terry was doing something a little bid, then fizzled. Was not providing much defense. I think we need to go back with Lee in the starting line-up. We need a better rotation overall. I love Doc but last night was just bad. I know playoffs usually have short rotations but I felt like he was being stubborn last night. If the rotations he was using the second half of both games then use different rotations to even give us a chance. Go deeper into the bench if you need too. I know people saying our bench is bad, but the bench is not even the Celtics bench. When you really look at it. Some of our bench became starters and some started went to the bench since Rondo and Sully went down and then Barbosa injuries and traded. It’s been pieced together. Either way Doc and Co. need to figure out why they keep slumping in 2nd halves.

  26. gerald martin says:

    the celtics are just not able to keep up with the defense the knicks put on them. in the 3rd the celtics show their age. i think they will play with the celtic pride on friday, but i hope the refs don’t try to controll the game when it gets a little active.

  27. Dr C.Goode says:

    Yep Celtics are done in 4 or 5 if they get lucky. Ainge is a fool, he should have traded Pierce and Garnett for some decent players when they had the chance before the trade deadline. Instead he’s held onto them for too long and will set back the Celtics rebuilding efforts for years. Both Garnett and Pierce are washed up and are no longer franchise players and the offensively challenged Rondo doesn’t possess the talent to be one. Ray Allen was right to get off this sinking ship. Celtics will go under .500 next year even with Rondo.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Agree with everything you said 100% … Ray allen got the last laugh! Garnett should have took signed with a championship contender or atleast been traded before the deadline, Celtics should have rebuilt aroud Rondo after Alllen left, Paul Pierce should retire as a celtic..But they are DONE!

  28. knicks fan says:

    carmelo is better than pierce and garnett, jr. smith is better than green, kidd is better than terry, felton same with bradley

    • Heat 2peat says:

      Kidd is better than TERRY?? Yea you’re a Knicks fan alright. YOU’RE BIASED. I’m no Knicks or Boston fan. I absolutely HATE boston. But i’m really hoping they take this series. Even if they don’t, the Knicks won’t beat the Pacers in the next round. They’ll be forced to shoot jumpers all day. They’d better hope their 3′s fall accurately in the series

      • knicks101 says:

        If you’ve watched both game, then you clearly see the knocks didn’t play their best. Which means that Boston needs 4A miracles to win this series

      • Nyk808 says:

        Kidd is absolutely a better basketball player than terry. Kidd is a hall of famer homie, terry shoots jump shots. Look at their career stats and get your facts straight. Nyk fan or not, any true basletball fan will tell you hands down they would have kidd on their team ling before terry.

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        Thank you!!! Somebody who knows what they are talking about… The knicks rely WAY 2 HEAVILY on carmelo’s baby shoulders to carry the load, Boston’s horrible play is making the knicks seem better than they are… Next round against Indiana the knicks will get exposed and might even get swept, the Pacers are more of a polished team, The knicks only have 2 guys that can consistently score (JR / Melo), the pacers are too deep & too tough..

  29. knicks fan says:

    knicks can beat the celtics in the series in game 5

  30. Tushar says:

    I’m a die hard celtic and I have to admit, no rondo no championship unless KG, The Truth, and Jeff Green explode in games 3 and 4. enough said.

  31. Celtics Forever says:

    By the start of the 2nd half our offense is already tired. (when i said offense i meant Paul Pierce)
    This isn’t just the players’ fault. Doc is being out-coached by Mike Woodson especially in 2nd halfs.
    KG is still badly shaken up from his injuries before playoffs. Paul Pierce can’t do all by himself anymore. How Ironic that the Celtics have a lot of Guards yet they’re terrible offensively.
    KG/PP should really retire next season or move to another team that wants to contend. We can’t postpone rebuilding phase anymore

  32. JF says:

    Don’t think you should ever count out the Celtics

  33. markderani says:

    Lol celts gone in 5

  34. #banner18 says:

    you can never count them out

  35. george says:

    The Knicks are good this year but will not last, neither against heat, nor next year. Even now the Celtics will give them a hard time in TD garden.

    The C’s are in transition. From a special team the last 6 years to something new. Re-inventing the Green.
    Bradley is learning everyday, Green tries for consistency Rondo will return much better, i know. The next 5 years, prepare for banner 18. There will not be another stagnation period like after Larry Legend.

  36. fred says:

    it is, unfortunately.

  37. By the way KG only 24 minutes & had 12 pts & 11 reb-now just what do you think that spelled-KG was on his way to have an unstoppable beast of a game & the refs kept him on the bench on purpose!

  38. Well i guess you can write their obituary if you want but i sure the hell am not!
    Never ever count the Celtics out at all, say what you may but the Celts are one of the most resilient teams. I’m not making any excuses @ all & i’m not completely blaming the refs but they played a major part in this game for ny. If you even watched the game with out bias, you could’ve obviously seen the refs obviously called very heavy favorable calls for the knicks-especially when the Celtics were in control the 1st half in spite of 2 early not legitimate foul calls on Garnett-because of the Celts 1st half control of the game-right from the beginning of the 2nd half the refs started calling horrible flopping calls for the knicks which slowed down Celts momentum after they gained 12-15 pt lead. Come on man-KG & Pierce 5 fouls a piece & Green 4-reeeally man. Celts starting 5 with 18 fouls & ny only 11 & melo only 2 then j.r. smith only 1-reeeally-come on. Celts main players of Pierce, KG, & Green in foul trouble the whole game @ key points & none of the knicks-not one with any foul trouble at all-smells like BS fixed game!
    You best believe that the Celtics will absolutely prevail & win all the way this series after these two games of horrible officiating-just not as much in the 1st one. How can ny or the fans even be proud of either of these 2 wins, i wouldn’t be!
    Celtics All The Way!!!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

    • jose says:

      I wish you a nice and clean SWEEP by NYK.
      You are cadavers ; You are already dead meat.
      What rest is simply the paperwork!!!!
      RIP

      We want Garnet and PP down here in South beach!!!
      can you imagine that ?

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        anything is possible ;)
        If Garnett was that hungry for another ring he would have signed with the heat for less $$$, Paul Pierce should retire as a celtic, but Garnett off the bench for Bosh would be NICE!! #HeatNation

    • knicks101 says:

      If you’ve watched both game, then you clearly see the knocks didn’t play their best. Which means that Boston needs 4A miracles to win this series

    • vito says:

      Too long but the first 2 on KG was bull. 3rd was right on money. He always made moving picks or “push” picks.

  39. The Oracle's Arena says:

    Not for nothing but they are missing one of if not the best pure point guard in the NBA… and a lock down defender…

    • jose says:

      That’s your problem , guys , you are always counting with the past……Rondo, Sullinger, PP, KG,,the Smashed Jet !!!All that is Old History
      HEAT champs,” no one , no two, no three…..”
      This is the present.
      Stop crying and holding on to the memories. Put up your pants and tray to win some game with dignity. But remember , we, the HEAT are watching!!!!
      The HATE THE HEAT of Rivers , did not work . Pierce’s claim for HEAT loosing all the games , did not work either.
      get some LOVE , some pants , some MAcho style and win one or two games……

      • vito says:

        Funny how there’s so much Macho Heat fans right now. Do you know who’s Glen Rice? Or Tim hardaway? Heat fans ha! Check back when you know who’s Baby Jordan.

  40. Henrik Jensen says:

    don’t count them out just yet, if after 4 games we are 2-2, we still have a chance, if its 1-3 we are done.. but don’t count us out just yet

  41. No 1. Aussie says:

    I still like Boston for the conference Finals…they are great up front and have the fire power to match the Knicks.

    Carmello will fold under pressure like he always does when the going gets tough later in the series.

    • Nyk808 says:

      Boston in the conference finals? You must be insane. You’re going to get beat down. And melo ALWAYS folding under pressure? Get your facts straight, he’s won big games, clutch in the 4th quarter, and im pretty sure he’s the scoring champ.

  42. KR450 says:

    Love my C’s but can’t see us beating the Knicks in this series, who have closed out the regular season in red-hot form while the Celtics have stumbled along with streaky performances all season, especially offensively. The loss of Rondo and Sullinger hasn’t helped, but it’s not a great excuse. Those guys have been out long enough for the others to have adapted by now. Offence has been sporadic all season and lots of guys are responsible for that inconsistency. Pierce, Green, Lee, Terry and others have all played great basketball at times and then gone missing at others. I never count the C’s out, but it would take a huge reversal of form to happen, one that doesn’t appear likely after the first two games.

  43. J.D13 says:

    Knicks win 2 homegames and all off the sudden the C´s are ready to be counted out?

    Just wait for the next 2 @ Boston……Go C’s

  44. vijay says:

    I might sound like a broken record, But days of Boston were over when celtics started treating Rondo the lord the boss or the emperor, Make no mistake Rondo is a great talent But his attitude is very caustic to the team, which led to the departure of Ray Allen, and trust me we must be joking if we think or say that pierce and garnett’s mindset was not affected by Ray Allens departure, they can get away by saying I lost the number or we dont call each other types, But they deep down know that the gaps in Celtics system got exposed, that makes them more hurt, with the young and inept team sans rondo or rays scoring why is production from PP and KG less which should be higher actually, just cos they are far less motivated and celtics have made them believe that they too are expendable just like Ray cos they think Rondo is the heal all solution to celtics.

    Come on If rondo can have issues with Ray who is least political and thorough gentleman (at least to an extent of game ) then Rondo can have issues with his own shadow… I know a person can have airs of his talent but mind you ondo is no bron or o be, rondo is just a Hype killing celtics Am a celtic fan and was positive that the 2012 group would have easily reached finals, conference or league and was optimistic that then the big three would win in all.

    Trading rondo for a better talent last year would have been best for celtics, team management had ehough optios in the market and a good sales pitch ( a kin riley ) would have bolstered boston and ray would have retired celtic and would have given his best till the last to boston and that would have kept, ever proud PP and KG highly motivated to give the best and perhaps bring bling to Boston.

    • Jerry says:

      At Vijay, you got it all wrong buddy…The only reason Ray Allen left the Celtics is because Avery Bradley came back from injury and Doc Rivers asked Ray was it okay if he can come off the bench. By Ray showing professionalism, he agreed to come off the bench but deep down inside it was hurting him. It has nothing to do with rondo attitude, in fact Rondo was basically a coach on the floor. The Celtics can’t win without The best pure point guard in the NBA. The reason they’re losing to the Knicks is because the Celtics are missing 20 pts, 16 ast and 10 rebs from their stats sheet every game. As you can see without Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are at their worst because they have to create their own shots which is too difficult for them at their age. See Rondo made it very easy for them and made the average player look like a star because he’s a true point guard. Trading Rondo would be the worst decision the Celtics ever made, cuz you don’t trade a point that can get you a triple double nearly every game that’s just plain dumb. The only thing that stops Rondo for getting triple doubles is when the Celtics are blowing teams out and the Celtics takes him out the game…

      • CAnthony says:

        Rondo averaging 20, 16, and 10? WOW! that’s very optimistic of you. Not on this team maybe against the slobcats in a best of seven.

      • rich says:

        Comments coming from someone named ‘Vijay’ I am not surprised with that kind of ignorance. Just stick to cricket man.
        Celtics is NOT better without Rondo. His being absent on the floor is the reason why the Celtics have no chance to advance.

  45. croneberg says:

    We should count the 2012-13 season out..

  46. croneberg says:

    We should count the 2012-13 season out

  47. jajabinks says:

    goodbyes to spurs, celtocs, lakers, bucks, rockets, nets, period.