It is really hard to approach this subject with a straight face considering the team's record. But I guess you could say that the team is on a relative downswing from the torrid pace they set earlier this year.
So what is wrong and what needs to be "fixed?"
Perkins has a good idea (reported by Bulpett):
"I just think we need to all go back to what our roles are and stick to them," Perkins said. "You know what I mean? I think guys have been getting outside their body in what they do. We’ve all got to realize what got us playing time and what made us successful as a team.
"We’ve all got to know that we’re going through Paul (Pierce), Ray (Allen) and KG (Kevin Garnett). If we get shots off of them, that’s fine. But as far as us trying to create shots on our own, I’ve just seen too much of that. I just think we’ve got to clean it up."
That's an excellent place to start because one of the biggest issues with the team recently has been the utter lack of ball movement. Early in the season the team was whipping the ball around the perimeter and in and out of the post like a hot potato. Players were unselfish to a fault and it was a good problem to have. Players like Perkins, Rondo, House, and Posey were getting open looks because the defense was so fatigued from chasing the ball around that they couldn't catch up with the 4th pass. The result was gaudy assist numbers and shooting percentages for just about everyone on the Celtics.
You can blame some of the lack of ball movement in the Wizards game due to Rondo being injured, but the trend started before that. Players have not been moving without the ball as crisply as before and defenses are trapping and making it difficult to move the ball.
It doesn't help that every team they play recently seems to be playing very physical with them. Kind of like when the Pats won their first Super Bowl by knocking around the Rams receivers to throw off their rhythm, teams are trying to get the Celtics out of their flow. So the team has to stick to thier own script and not let other teams dictate the style of play. You have to be able to shove back when you are getting pushed around, but you can't get into a wrestling match at the expense of basketball plays.
Getting back to what Perkins said, every player needs to understand what they are there to do and do it.
- Garnett has to initiate post offense and pass out of double and triple teams.
- Pierce has to slash and drive and keep his head up for those passes the was making in the Pistons game.
- Allen has to move without the ball and knock down the open looks that he gets.
- Guards need to take better care of the ball and get the team into its offense quicker.
- Big men need to box out and hit the boards better.
- Everyone needs to take care of the ball better.
Or if you want to sum it up, the team has to pull out a tape of an early season game and watch it very closely. Sure, maybe the team could use a backup point guard or an extra big man on the bench, but that isn't necessarily why they lost two games in the last week. This is still the same team that won 29 out of 32 games. They just need to remember how they got there.