Thursday , Jan , 25 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

What’s up with the Celtics?

(Sports Network) – The Boston Celtics currently resemble what someone would
look like had they ran a 100-yard dash in a 90-yard gymnasium at full speed.

You can thank comedian Tom Driesen for that reference.

But Boston has certainly hit a wall with nine consecutive losses and hasn’t
been the same squad ever since star forward Paul Pierce went down with a
foot injury. Some teams can adjust and make things happen when a top player
is out for some time, but these Celtics are creating their own episode of
Lost.

The Celtics, losers of 16 of their last 18 games, are surprisingly worse than
the Atlantic Division-rival Philadelphia 76ers and reside in last place in
the standings. Head coach Doc Rivers better find a solution fast or he will
soon join former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Dwane Casey in the
unemployment office. Casey was just canned by the T’wolves.

But you can’t attribute all of the blame on Rivers because his team has been
playing without Pierce and a few other key components. The Celtics, whose
record for most consecutive losses is 13 in the 1996-97 season, are a
miserable 2-15 without Pierce in the lineup, and hope he will return soon
from a stress reaction in his left foot.

Losing is one thing but to lose at home on a regular basis is grounds for
finger pointing. How are the Celtics mired in an eight-game losing streak at
home? They just set a franchise record for home losses after Wednesday’s 82-76
loss to Atlanta at TD Banknorth Garden, where they are just 4-16 in 2006-07.

Rivers has an excuse with injuries and lost another player against the Hawks
when forward Al Jefferson exited the game in the fourth quarter with a mild
right ankle sprain. Jefferson finished with 11 points and 10 boards and is
listed as questionable for Friday. Rivers is already without Pierce, Theo
Ratliff, Tony Allen and Wally Szczerbiak.

Szczerbiak was allegedly ready to go against the Hawks, but swelling in his
right ankle postponed his return. Szczerbiak has missed the last eight games
because of the problem and is averaging 16.9 points and 3.5 rebounds this
season.

Power forward Brian Scalabrine, though, returned to the hardwood on
Wednesday after missing six games with a bruised knee.

Meanwhile, forward Ryan Gomes entered Wednesday’s game averaging 19.4 points
and 7.6 rebounds over the previous five games. Those numbers were altered
significantly after he recorded four points and seven rebounds in the loss to
the Hawks.

BOS