Celtics

With trade deadline ahead, what will C's do?

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With trade deadline ahead, what will C's do?

DALLAS This is the predicament the Boston Celtics find themselves in now.

They have lost three ina row, six of the last seven, and are officially a below-.500 team.

There is no doubt there's a need - a strong need - to shake things up a bit.

But that desire has to be framed in the reality that the C's have had an unusually high number of injuries. That has been the biggest factor in the team's falling below .500, which happened in Monday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

While it remains to be seen what the Celtics will do between now and the March 15 deadline, coach Doc Rivers is pretty clear on where he stands on the matter.

"We're losing, number one, because we're not playing well; number two, because we are injured," Rivers said. "So, why shake things up if guys are injured? You've got to let them get healthy, if they can."

And with the players Boston has been missing due to injuries, most appear to not be suffering from potential season-ending injuries.

Jermaine O'Neal had to leave in the third quarter on Monday because of a left wrist injury. The 6-foot-10 veteran has been bothered by a lengthy list of injuries throughout his time with the Celtics. It is unclear if he'll be able to play Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Brandon Bass (left knee) and Chris Wilcox (groin) are also players dealing with injuries that aren't expected to keep them out too long. Bass is expected back in the lineup after the All-Star break. And Wilcox, who left the game in the third quarter on Monday because of a groin injury, isn't sure if he'll play against the Thunder.

If you see Rivers look the other way when crossing the path of the Celtics' team trainer, well, you can understand why.

Eye contact usually means talking will follow.

Talking generates conversation.

Conversation, at least these days when it comes to the Celtics, involves injury updates.

And the news on that front, especially this year, hasn't been very good.

That's why Rivers had no intention of approaching them following Boston's 89-73 loss at Dallas on Monday night, to inquire about the injuries to O'Neal and Wilcox.

"I'm scared to talk to the medical staff," Rivers said. "Because they don't really give you good news. So, I make them search me out for the most part."

O'Neal and Wilcox have both missed games earlier this year because of injuries. This latest round of injuries comes at a time when the C's roster continues to be decimated by one player after another, having to miss time due to an injury, a personal matter (Kevin Garnett) or a suspension (Rajon Rondo).

And the mounting injuries have certainly played a major role in the team's struggles this year.

While it's clear that a healthy Celtics team would in all likelihood do better than the squad we're seeing right now, don't think for a minute that that will stop C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge from trying to make a blockbuster trade.

"Danny is always going to look for trades," Rivers said. "You know who Danny is. But having said that, I don't think Danny is going to do anything crazy."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

0:41 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and DJ Bean discuss the Celtics 16-game winning streak being snapped by the Miami Heat.

6:05 - Tom Curran and Mike Giardi talk about Tom Brady missing practice due to an Achilles injury and Randy Moss’ chances to make the Hall of Fame.

11:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the mental and physical fatigue that the streak had on the Celtics and if there is a sense of relief that the streak is over.  

16:11 - With it being the 5th anniversary of the Butt Fumble, we compare it to other embarrassing sports moments in history. 

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.

So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.

  • Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
  • Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
  • Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.

And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.

“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.

MORE:

Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.

“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”

Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”

Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.

“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.

He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”

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