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McMallum On The Celtics

Jack McMallum has the latest article on "what's wrong with the Celtics" up at today.  He makes some solid points.  Here are some highlights.

But back to the Celtics. What's wrong with them, if anything? Here are a few things:

• They're still learning how to play with each other. They seem at first glance to be a veteran squad, the Big Three having been around collectively for 32 seasons. But five players in the regular rotation are new to Boston.

• And sometimes they show their unfamiliarity with each other in beat-the-clock situations. Who takes the big shot? Pierce? Allen? Garnett? Does Rondo even handle? Dare they go down low to Perkins and depend on him to make a play?

• The weaknesses of Rondo (decision-making) and Perkins (not an instinctive low-post scorer; he spends too much time "gathering himself," in Rivers' words), can be hidden for a while -- like, say, the first two months of the season -- but are eventually exposed.

• The Celtics aren't weak at guard, but they are weak at point guard, the decision-making position, where backups House and Tony Allen are shoot-first players.

• Having come out of the gate fast, determined to prove that three stars could play together, the Celtics are gassed, particularly Pierce, whose scoring average has gone down by almost six points in the last half dozen games. Bothered by a rep for being selfish, Pierce has worked his tail off this season, particularly on defense, but it has taken its toll. Garnett has talked in recent days about his team having lost some of its "energy" and "spunk."

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