The Celtics had a tough back-to-back schedule to start the week, and fell in both games, including a miserable loss to the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Monday. That extended the losing streak to four games which not only negatively affects the Celtics in the standings, but likewise on the NBA betting line.
Boston hasn't cracked the 90-point mark during this streak. The Celtics have averaged just 89.5 points per game this season, which has them 26th in the league in that category, despite being seventh overall in shooting percentage. The conclusion to draw here? The Celtics need to add some life to their offense and put more shots on net.
Thanks to the losing streak, the Celtics no longer find themselves in sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The New York Knicks -? thanks in large part to Jeremy Lin-sanity -? have gone on an 8-2 run and are now tied with Boston for seventh (technically they?ve overtaken them, but New York has played two more games).
This streak has Boston dropping in power rankings lists and will likely make them less attractive to bettors on Bovada's NBA futures. However, all is not lost. After the All-Star Break, three of Boston's next four games are against teams not currently in a playoff spot; the fourth being against those pesky Knicks.
Things don't get any easier as Boston will finish the first half of the season with another road game on Wednesday night, this time against the first-place-in-the-Western-Conference Oklahoma City Thunder, who sport the best record in the NBA.
When they last met on Jan. 16, the Thunder roared to a 97-88 victory. Kevin Durant had 28 points in a game where the Celtics just couldn't find their defensive footing and only shot 39.1 percent as a team. They'll need to fix both of those issues if they hope to stand a chance in Oklahoma City.
Boston had only one original All-Star entry in Paul Pierce, but he's been as good as anybody else on the roster thus far. He's first on the team in points, second in assists and fourth in rebounds. You could make the argument that Kevin Garnett is also deserving, but Garnett doesn't exactly have the same lasting appeal.
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo missed the first of two games he was suspended for on Monday night, after he threw a ball at an official in Boston's game against Detroit last weekend. He looked to have an extra-long All-Star Break to kick back and relax before he was a late addition to replace the injured Joe Johnson.