Many people want to blame Rondo, but the fact of the matter is, everybody on the Celtics plays a role in a winning or losing streak, but I've realized that Kevin Garnett's and Paul Pierce's struggles are playing a significant role in this particular losing streak.
The defense has been poor during this losing streak, but they've allowed they're opponents to shoot 44.2% from the field, and 28.6% from 3-point range. Despite these horrible percentages, even if the Celtics allowed 44.2% for the rest of the season, even though that wouldn't be a great percentage, it would still be above the NBA average. In addition, that 28.6% opponent 3-point field goal percentage would be league-leading.
The biggest problem during this losing streak is the offense in my opinion. The Boston Celtics have been one of the better shooting teams in the NBA, they rank 6th in field goal percentage at 45.8%, which is even slightly higher than last year, and just 1% below the 2007-2008 team. The Celtics have only been averaging 88.2 points, shooting 41.2% from the field and just 25.6% from 3-point range during this losing streak. Part of this is due to the inefficiency of Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce
Garnett has normally been Mr. Reliable, but for some reason, he has struggled a lot during this losing streak. He's been averaging 14.2 points, and 7 rebounds shooting just 41.% from the field. That's not a percentage you want from your starting center. Garnett is also shooting just 70% from the free throw line. The points and rebounds have pretty much remained consistent, but Garnett is not hitting them at the clip that he's accustomed to. His field goal percentages have to go back to the 50%+ that he's been doing consistently since he's been a Boston Celtic.
Paul Pierce probably plays a bigger role than anybody on the team, and despite having 19 points in the first half against the Knicks, Pierce's struggles continue. This is a rough stretch that I don't think I've ever seen the Captain go on. 13.8 points, and 7.4 rebounds shooting 32.9% from the field and 15% from 3-point range. Pierce has only been to the free throw line a total of 25 times during this stretch, and 12 of those attempts came against the Knicks. Paul Pierce isn't hitting those free throws at the clip he's used to as well. He's only shooting 72% from the line during this losing streak.
It's difficult to win when your two best scorers, continue to struggle the way that Garnett and Pierce have been struggling. You can't expect to go far when your top two guns average 14 points, 7.2 rebounds, and shoot 37% from the field. That's just not a winning formula. I still believe the Celtics can make a push though.
What are your thoughts? Should Pierce be traded? Should he come off the bench? Should Garnett come off the bench? Can these future hall of famers improve their game?