Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/19/12
Eastern-conference
The Celtics lost again on Tuesday night, something that has become quite the trend through the first quarter of the NBA season. The C’s, who were one game from the NBA Finals, just a few months ago, now find themselves sitting at .500 with a 12-12 record. They sit in third place in the Atlantic Division (six games behind the first-place Knicks) and are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. You could definitely say that the Celtics aren’t a very good team right now — and Boston head coach Doc Rivers would agree with you. Following the Celtics’ loss to the Bulls on Tuesday night, Rivers stated as much. “We’re going to keep searching, this team is not a good team right now,” Rivers said, according to The Boston Globe. “It’s who we are right now. I’ve been saying that. This is who we are. We’re a .500 team and we play like that. We’ve won two games in a row [once this] season. Right now we’re not a good team. We’re going to find it, but we’re not right now.” The numbers tend to back Rivers’ claims up, not just in the standings. The C’s find themselves in the middle of the pack offensively, and the defense remains the most disappointing aspect of the team’s shortcomings. They give up 98 points per game, which is an uncharacteristically high number for a team that prides itself on the defensive end. They’ve also been dominated on the glass, with reports surfacing that Danny Ainge is looking for a big man to help address that insufficiency. “Right now we have no identity, that’s simple and plain,” Celtics captain Paul Pierce said, according to the Globe. “We’re supposed to be a defenisve team, give up 100 points every night, inconsistent on both ends of the court. We’re searching, trying to find out who we want to be for this season.” Things aren’t necessarily going to get any easier in the near future. The Celtics return home to take on the Cavs and Bucks — two games they probably should win — but that’s followed by a four-game road trip. That trip begins on Christmas Day in Brooklyn before the club heads west for a three-game stop in California, something that’s never easy.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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