Found December 26, 2012 on Fox Sports:
After spending four years crafting a reputation as one of the NBA's best teams in November and December, the Boston Celtics have found the last two seasons to be rather unkind when it comes to getting out of the blocks quickly, with early hardship coming to define them in their old age. It started last year when, without a training camp to rely on, coach Doc Rivers' past-its-prime roster took a 15-17 mark into the All-Star break during the condensed, lockout-shortened season. Boston was essentially left for dead as a result, written off as finally too decrepit to hang with the league's young, up-and-coming powers -- especially at the headlong pace the league had them playing. But then the Celtics shocked virtually everyone in the second half by winning 24 of their final 34 games, becoming just the fourth team in league history to win its division after having a losing record at the break. That Boston team earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference as a result and then continued to defy all logic by coming within one win of its third NBA Finals appearance in five seasons. With their 2011-12 volte-face in mind, this season's Celtics entered Tuesday's Christmas Day matinee against Brooklyn hopeful for the future despite their 13-13 record and an uncomfortably familiar view from the fringe of the Eastern Conference playoff race with a third of the season in the books. And a 93-76 win over the free-falling Nets helped Boston keep its head above water and maintain its No. 8 seed in the East. But there are still serious questions as to whether another U-turn like last year's is feasible with this season's retooled lineup, even with an extra 16 games to make it. And regardless of what you think you saw Tuesday, these Celtics, as currently constructed, don't have another stunning turnaround in them. "I think we're getting better," Rivers said of his club, which, at 14-13, is one win off its 2012 pace heading into Thursday's game against the LA Clippers. "I think we're very, very close to becoming a good team, but we're not yet. Our record tells us we're not. So until our record tells us we are, we're not." There are a number of reasons Rivers won't say his team is good and fans don't think Boston is capable of a run like the one it put together last year. Chief among them is the fact that last year's "bad" start really wasn't all that bad, while this year's has been every bit as bad as it looks. Sure, things looked ugly last winter when Celtics GM Danny Ainge publicly considered razing his roster and starting from scratch with his team hovering around .500. But the thing that stood out about Boston's subsequent recovery after Ainge's flirtation with an overhaul wasn't how rapidly the season changed course, but how little Boston actually changed on the floor as it did. Most will point to the Celtics' stalwart defense as the reason for their success last season. But, statistically, the D that went 15-17 in the first half of the season was virtually identical to the one that dominated the league in March and April, even after Kevin Garnett's successful, if uncomfortable shift to center and Avery Bradley's emergence as a reliable on-ball defender starting in place of Ray Allen. Boston held opponents to NBA lows in shooting (41.9 percent) and 3-point shooting (30.8 percent) last season, but it wasn't the result of a post-All-Star lockdown -- the Celtics were second and first in those marks, respectively, before the break, as well. Over its first 32 games, Boston allowed 88.5 points per game on 41.8-percent shooting, and over the final 34, it allowed 90.1 points on 42-percent shooting. Last season's Celtics offense, while unremarkable, was also mostly consistent, too. Though Boston averaged nearly five more points during the second half of the season, its second-half shooting percentage went up only one point from January and February, while the Celtics saw a 2.5-percent decline in 3-point shooting. The only place Boston really showed a marked improvement after the break last year was in the turnover game -- but not necessarily by taking better care of the ball. Before the All-Star Game, the Celtics averaged 14.7 turnovers while creating 13.6. In the second half, the Celtics turned the ball over 13.5 times per night while generating 15.7 on defense. In short, last season's Celtics team was always good, and it just took half a season -- and one Ainge threat of a scorched-earth roster transformation -- for the wins to line up accordingly. The 15-17 start was a fluke. This season, however, it's a case of new problems, not bad luck, leading to the same bad results. And this season's issues -- a core that's another year older and an overhauled roster that's struggling to gel like the Celtics teams of yore -- may be tougher to solve in time to make a run. In a paradigm shift from the Boston teams that have dominated the East since the birth of the Big Three, which is down a member with Allen playing in Miami, these Celtics are making their name on offense, if anywhere, shooting a top-five 46.8 percent from the floor and scoring 97.3 points per game. But Boston also entered Tuesday 18th in the league in opponent shooting percentage, at 45 percent, and 16th in defending the 3, giving up 35.8 percent from behind the arc. Garnett, 36, is continuing to play well, though not quite at the level of last year's playoff run, when he averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds. Paul Pierce is still the team's scoring leader, not to mention its emotional leader in the huddle, even at age 35. And Rajon Rondo is still the same enigmatic, temperamental wizard with the basketball that he always was, leading the NBA in assists by a wide margin. But the rest of the roster is still searching for a purpose, and the bench has been a veritable mess. There's no telling whether there will be another Bradley to step up from the ranks of the reserves this season, though Bradley's imminent return from shoulder surgery will help, and rookie big man Jared Sullinger (16 points, 6-of-7 shooting) and forward Jeff Green (15 points, 5 of 8) provided a glimmer of hope on Tuesday. If there was anything to be gleaned from last year's second-half surge, it's that the Celtics should never be counted out, even when you're positive that their time in the spotlight has run its course. But whereas last season's team was able to rebound from a bad start by continuing to do what it was already doing, this season's needs to make some huge strides, particularly on defense, if it wants to become competitive in the East again -- and I'm not as optimistic that it can happen as Rivers is. "I hope so, I do," Rivers said when asked if this team can rally like last season's. "But . . . you've heard (Heat guard Dwyane) Wade talking about how they're not there yet, you heard (Thunder forward Kevin) Durant saying that, and I'm thinking, 'What else do they have to do?' (Lakers guard) Kobe (Bryant) said that, that they're not there yet, too. "So there's a lot of teams saying the same thing. Somebody is going to do what they say and take off, and I'm hoping that it's us." You can follow Sam Gardner on Twitter or e-mail him at .

Video: Fab Melo's 32 point, 9 rebound, and 9 block game

Above are the video highlights from Fab Melo's 32 point, 9 rebound, and 9 block game against the Idaho Stampede. Hopefully when Melo gets recalled from the D-League, he can use all the experience he got as a confidence builder and can perform well for the Celtics. We could really use his size. Video by OfficialCelticsHD on YouTube. Related: Ok now this is getting a bit ridiculous...

An open apology to Jeff Green

Dear Mr. Green, I would like to start off by saying how truly sorry I am for my actions over the past two months since the start of the 2012-13 NBA Regular season. I took the time prior to the Celtics Christmas Day game against the Brooklyn Nets to watch the ESPN feature on you and your recovery from heart surgery. I must admit that for the majority of this season I have been nothing...

Your Morning Dump..Where The Celtics look for some game

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. I love that title, because the C’s sure have looked like they’ve had none at times this year. And as a Celtics fan, I expect the best every year, and we just haven’t seen it yet. So what’s it going to take...

Jared Sullinger a starter soon? It would make sense

Over at, where Celtics Town authoritarian dictator (just kidding) Jay King gets paid to write about sports, Jay posted an interesting article on how Boston’s full-team plus/minus improves immensely when Jared Sullinger plays with the starters in place of Brandon Bass and/or Jason Collins.From“Consider this: During the 197 minutes when Sullinger has...

Kevin Garnett: “He just jacked my shorts”

In the Celtics early start on Christmas Day, CSN viewers were surrounded with holiday spirit, including anecdotal stories of KG buying Scal a Louis Vuitton suitcase, and Keyon Dooling dishing out holiday cheer like it he was playing point guard again.  Then things became reminiscent of the last meeting between Brooklyn and Boston when Gerald Wallace and Kevin Garnett got a little...

Rajon Rondo’s new custom logo

All you  Rajon Rondo  fans are in for a treat. As far as the other 99% of NBA fans just bear with me. Artist and basketball fan Davide Zomer from Trento, Italy created a self-initiated mock logo design for  Rondo  aka the engine that runs the Boston Celtics. You might want to check it out if you like this sort of stuff…

California Here We Come: The Boston Celtics Head Out on a West Coast Swing

A Look at the Boston Celtics Match-ups in California   The Boston Celtics say goodbye to 2012 from sunny California after kicking off a four game road trip by administering a Christmas Day beating to the Brooklyn Nets.  The West Coast swing, in particular the first two  games against the Los Angeles Clippers and the [...]

Doc Rivers Compliments Jared Sullinger, Calls Him ‘Big Fat Guy Playing Basketball’

Hopefully the Celtics aren’t sensitive about their weight. Because Doc Rivers certainly doesn’t care. The Celtics’ coach complimented rookie forward Jared Sullinger, and then called him fat. This backhanded compliment came after Sullinger had a career-day on Christmas, going six-for-seven shooting with 16 points and seven rebounds. “Jared was wonderful. He’s such a smart...

Celtics 93, Nets 76: A nice stocking stuffer

For Christmas, at least, the Celtics played well. Jared Sullinger solidified himself as my hero, Rajon Rondo continued to show more aggression as a scorer, Gerald Wallace may or may not have wanted to brawl, Deron Williams (and Joe Johnson) used to be a lot better, and I don’t know if I said this before, but Sullinger’s my hero.I would write more, but I’m going to see Les Miserables...

Paul Pierce’s Game Ball Gesture to Jason Collins Doubly Appreciated, As Awarding Game Balls Is Rarity in NBA

BOSTON — Paul Pierce gave Jason Collins his game ball, everybody clapped and that was pretty much that. A few days later, Pierce’s token of recognition for the veteran center’s hard work was all but forgotten for many members of the Celtics, who were much more impressed with the 40-point performance that earned Pierce the game ball in the first place. But for Collins, the gesture...

Comments from the Other Side - Nets 12/25

Well, this game made my Christmas a bit merrier.  It would have been a lot better if the Lakers and Heat had lost but I'll take a Celtics win any day, especially over these very unlikeable Nets and their fans.  The fact that some of them were complaining about the officiating is laughable, given that they shot 29 free throws to 13 for the Celtics.  Nets fans seem to hate their...

Celtics Capitalize on Favorable Matchups Against Nets to Begin Holiday Road Trip With Win

Nothing is ever promised, but for all the Brooklyn Nets’ improvements in the last year and a half, they figured to remain a reliable victim for the Celtics entering this season. Even after two meetings and two Celtics’ losses, all the ingredients were there to make the Nets a match made in heaven for Boston. They were a slow-paced team that defended poorly and was prone to bad...

Gerald Wallace & Kevin Garnett Receive Double Technicals After Short Tug

Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace both received a technical in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Christmas Day game after a minor scuffle. Wallace grabbed onto Garnett’s shorts following a shot attempt, something Garnett didn’t respond well to:

Celtics F Wilcox out with sprained thumb

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that forward Chris Wilcox will be out three to four weeks with a sprained right thumb. The team announced Monday that they promoted Jarvis Varnado from Sioux Falls of the D-League to take Wilcox's spot on the roster. Varnado appeared in 10 games for the SkyForce and averaged 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-best 3.9 blocks in 30...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.