Making his weekly appearance on "The Big Show," Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge acknowledged that the team "is not playing well," but at the same time, he said he continues to "see good signs." "I'm hopeful, but concerned," he said
"i thought last night was a step forward," Ainge added. "We don't have moral victories, but I thought our effort was better. We're still out of sync offensively. I think defensively has been the biggest problem over the course of the year, but last night, I think our problems came more in the halfcourt offense."
Here are some more highlights of his Q&A with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.
Did the games against the Warriors and Kings make you think different about what this team is and what this team needs going forward? "No, not those two games. The whole picture. That was a bad stretch -- every team has that, especially the Kings game. I think we were banged up. That was not us. The Warriors game, we did not play well. The Clippers game, we did not play well. I'm just looking at what we're capable of becoming, and I think we haven't found the right pieces. I think Doc is probably going to try and tweak the lineup again and do some things different. We'll just try to be patient with this team as ling as we can."
Can this be fixed with words, an attitude adjustment, or do you need make some deals? "Right. I think it's up to the players now. I think that Doc has certainly given them the right words and the right tools to play better. I think that these next couple of weeks are going to be huge to see where we are as we're starting to get healthy. I think Rondo is still not healthy. I mean, he's played the last few games banged up, and we're not the same when he's not 100 percent. And that's clear. He had a couple of good spurts last night, but he couldn't sustain it. I think that we really need to get a feel for our team. This will be the first game coming up against the best defensive team in the league right now in [the] Indiana Pacers where we have our best lineup that played last year, and that was with Rondo and Avery and Brandon and KG and Paul. That lineup hasn't even played one minute together this year, so I'd like to give that a shot."
On defense, this team is not making stops. The newer guys almost seem to be confused on the defensive end. Is that a learning process? "For whatever reason -- I'm not sure if they're incapable or they're not or they can't physically. Time will tell on that. But the reality of it is they haven't. And it's not just the new guys. I don't think our veteran players that have been here have played up to their capabilities yet either. I mean, we went from being the best team in the NBA last year defensively to the 21st best defensive team in the league right now, so that's concerning. But, I do believe that that can be fixed with attitude and health and practice time. I really do believe that. Our guys know how to do that."
On Kobe's comment about his team being "old as [bleep]," and if that's one of the concerns about this Celtics team. Is age a factor in their struggles, particularly when it comes to Pierce, KG and Jason Terry? "I would say those three guys are probably the least of our concerns, so I would have to say no. I would have to say no, that's not the case. Those are things that I worry about -- how much they have in the tank. And I know it takes a lot for them to get ready to play. I've said that a lot, KG and Paul, how professional they are. How much time they put in to get ready to play. But those guys aren't the main issues. I think they can all step up and play better defensively, night in and night out, possession by possession. But we have a lot of young guys on our team. We have Jeff and Courtney and Avery and Rondo and Brandon, and those guys are all in their prime or less than their prime when it comes to their age."