Found January 03, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
The Boston Celtics lost three straight games after beating the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day. All three losses came on the West Coast and they were all by double digits. The Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings easily handled the Celtics.  While the defeats to the Clippers and Warriors were understandable because those are two of the hottest teams in the NBA, the defeat to the Kings was tough to swallow. The Kings are just 11-20 and DeMarcus Cousins had come off a team-induced suspension for yelling at coach Keith Smart. When the Celtics came back home on Wednesday, they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-83.  The Celtics allowed an average of 108.3 points per game. They are 17th in the league in points allowed per game (98.1 points per game) and their opponents are shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett are calling their teammates to reflect on whether they are truly committed to helping the team achieve success. The Celtics are below .500 for the first time since they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers on November 9th. This team has failed to show they are capable of winning a championship based on their lackluster play, especially on the defensive end of the court. When the Celtics came back home on Wednesday, they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-83. Avery Bradley made his season debut last night. He looked rusty as he was a -12 and had just four points. Overall, the Celtics have lost four consecutive games, which is their longest losing streak of the season. They have failed to win more than three straight at any point this year. The reasons for Celtics fans to be optimistic is they began last year with a 15-17 record at the All-Star break before they went 24-10 to conclude the 2011-’12 regular season. They won the Atlantic Division and nearly upset the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. One of those key pieces from last year’s squad in Bradley returned to the court against the Grizzlies. Bradley’s ball pressure and play invigorated last year’s team. His play helped the Celtics emerge into a contender in the Eastern Conference. Realists can make the distinction that this is not last year’s team. Courtney Lee and Jeff Green’s struggles to carry the team along with their aging stars cannot overcome the return of Bradley. Rajon Rondo is dealing with a hip injury that forced him to miss the Celtics 101-83 loss to the Warriors on Saturday. Then Kings guard Isaiah Thomas outscored Rondo, 27-2, on Sunday night. The Celtics not only are playing terrible defensively, but they have no backup center who can aid their rebounding woes. Here are the Celtics’ tweets of interest:     Excited for Tom. #TeamCeltics — Avery Bradley (@Avery_Bradley) January 2, 2013 Celtics fans are eager to see Bradley on the court. He helped invigorate the Celtics last year when he was inserted into the starting lineup because Ray Allen was dealing with bone spurs in his ankle. Everyone remembers how Bradley’s ball pressure gave opposing guards fits and the block on Heat guard Dwyane Wade in the 91-72 victory on April 1st. The Celtics are hoping to see a defensive improvement with the return of Bradley.     happy new year to each of u. thx for your continued support. appreciate u all. wishing u the best in 2013. — Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) January 1, 2013 Rajon Rondo sent this tweet for his fans and people in his inner circle. Of course, many Celtics fans are hoping for the best from Rondo in 2013 and that he could help lead the Celtics to their 18th championship. Rondo’s leadership has been questioned because of his poor attitude when things don’t go well and his multiple suspensions. Unfortunately, Rondo has a hip injury, but Rondo has been taking outside shots with more confidence this year. He has been inconsistent on defense with opposing point guards outplaying Rondo. Opponents have been able to penetrate against the Celtics defense with little resistance through the first two months.   The new year brings a lot of question marks. This year’s edition of the Celtics need to improve their play from the final two months of 2012 or the Celtics will be playing on the golf course in April.
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