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Going Home

Today is January 6th. As of right now, the Celtics, at 4-11, sit dead last in the NBA in record at home. Coach Rivers has speculated that perhaps our young guys, afraid to fail in front of their home fans, play better on the road, where nothing is expected of them. Big Al has said as much in postgame interviews. I have even found myself on board with the idea as of late: maybe the Celtics are afraid of playing at home.

Are we too hard on them? As much as many of us on this particular website may be guilty of homer-ism, we do spit a bit of venom from time to time. The Boston Sports Fan is known worldwide for his/her knowledge of the game, but also his/her inability to deal with losing. We boo our own when we get upset (so does New York, sitting pretty at 8-10 at MSG). The last time we made the playoffs, I found myself in the balcony at game 7 against Indiana screaming horrible things at my team as we got blown out. I was there chanting "Fight!" at the end of that pathetic game, egging poor Perkins on until he finally snapped and went after Indiana's players. This year, on opening night, thinking about how Red would feel watching Chris Paul absolutely shred our defense, I heard myself screaming insults down at the team from my balcony perch. It is a fact that I'm getting sick of waiting for our young guys to grow up, and maybe that pressure from all of us keeps them fromâ€"

Wait, what?? These are PROFESSIONAL athletes. The thing to remember is that every time any of them do anything remotely good, they have people like Tommy broadcasting to all their fans on TV that they can be real, great players in the NBA if they just keep it up. We love these guys, and maybe sometimes it is tough love, but that's no excuse for their making excuses. Isn't the bigger problem that Doc is far too reactionary to coach a young team like this? It's no coincidence that the team seems to play better when Doc is forced to thin his rotation, or that Tony and Al began to look like totally different players when they stopped having to worry about getting pulled every time they screwed up.

But to get back to this issue of The C's putrid play at home: is it an issue? They've played a far more difficult home schedule than road schedule. 8 of their 15 home games have come against teams sporting records .500 or better, as opposed to only 5 of their 17 road games. Their record in home games decided by 5 or less is 2-7, as opposed to 2-2 on the road. Maybe Doc is a better coach on the road.

The Celtics are a young team with a lot of promise, but right now, especially in the wake of the injury to Pierce, they are a bad team. That said, they are a bad team having some bad luck. Based on point differential, their expected record is 2 games ahead of their actual record. That would put them in a tie with New Jersey for first in the terrible Atlantic and people would probably be talking about how they are overachieving. They should be bad, but not this bad. The Celtics are last in the league in home record and 9th out of 30 teams in the league in road record. For my part, I'm going to assume these things level out some over the second half of the season.