The Celtics continued their losing ways, dropping their ninth straight game, losing to the Hawks, 105-97, Wednesday night in Atlanta.

The defeat was also the Celts’ 13th straight road loss, tying a franchise record originally set in 1979. The C’s only two road wins over their last 15 games away from TD Garden came against the NBA’s two worst teams, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

The Celtics continued their losing ways, dropping their ninth straight game, losing to the Hawks, 105-97, Wednesday night in Atlanta.

The defeat was also the Celts’ 13th straight road loss, tying a franchise record originally set in 1979. The C’s only two road wins over their last 15 games away from TD Garden came against the NBA’s two worst teams, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

The Celtics are now tied with Orlando for the third-worst record in the NBA, standing at 23-55. They have four games remaining, playing the Bobcats and Wizards at home, with road games against Cleveland and the Sixers.

Milwaukee owns the NBA’s worst mark at 14-63, while Philly stands at 17-61. Utah (24-54) and the Lakers (25-53) are right behind Boston and Orlando.

Rajon Rondo played 40 minutes in the Celtics’ loss, scoring 19 points to go with 12 assists. Avery Bradley led the C’s with 24 points.

Doing in the Celtics against the Hawks — who are clinging to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference — was a fourth quarter in which the C’s were outscored 35-20.

For a complete box score, click here.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

ESPN college basketball insider Jeff Goodman joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about the Celtics and who they could draft, Duke star Jabari Parker, and the rumors about John Calipari going to the Laker. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With the Celtics out of playoff contention and the season almost over, Celtics observers are looking at the upcoming NBA draft. Goodman sees a variety of players who could fit the Celtics, depending on where they are picking.

“If they go six, I would say a guy like Noah Vonleh,” Goodman said. “Local kid, from the North shore. Played in Indiana this past season. He’€™s about a [6-foot-9 1/2] 4 man and can kind of be a little bit of a 3. Played 5 this year at Indiana. A great, great high-character kid. He’€™s only going to get better. I think he’€™d be in the mix if they pick somewhere around that six range.”

Added Goodman: “€œThey really need to get in the top three, and then if they’€™re drafting four or five, you’€™re probably talking about picking from a group of Julius Randle, who we saw really struggle the other night in Kentucky. Dante Exum, that combo guard from Australia who’€™s really athletic, got size, about 6-5. But a lot of people don’€™t whether he’€™s a 1 or a 2. Many people haven’€™t seen him against high-quality competition.”

Parker and Andrew Wiggins are considered two of the top prospects, with many analysts going back and forth on who is better. Goodman prefers Parker, comparing him to Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.

“€œHe’€™s as much of a given in this draft that you can’€™t miss,”€ Goodman said. “I know people are going to say, well, you shoot for the stars and Andrew Wiggins could be — I don’€™t know, who do they say, Tracy McGrady I guess. Jabari Parker could be Carmelo without some of the issues. That’€™s how good he is offensively. That’€™s how good he’€™s going to be. You’€™re not missing on Jabari Parker. But the bottom end of Jabari Parker, this is the worst-case scenario to me, is he’€™s a 13[-point] and six[-assist] guy. The top end is he’€™s Carmelo and he’€™s averaging 22 [points] and eight [assists].”

Goodman is more lukewarm on Wiggins. While he sees potential in the 19-year-old, he doesn’t see Wiggins as having that killer instinct.

“I was there for that last game against Stanford,”€ Goodman said. “He had four points. Four points. Biggest game of the year. … Maybe it’€™ll come to him, maybe the light will go on in the NBA. Maybe the spacing will make it a little bit easier for him. … You don’€™t develop a killer instinct, you either have it or you don’€™t, and I don’€™t think Andrew Wiggins has it.”

Earlier, Goodman touched on the rumors that the Lakers would get Calipari. Goodman sees no chance of it happening, citing Calipari’€™s ego as the biggest problem.

“€œI talked to probably 30 or 40 NBA guys prior to the season and did something on if they were to hire a college coach, who would it be,”€ Goodman said, adding. “John Calipari got very little love from the NBA. … You’€™re not hiring a guy like that. It didn’t work the last time around. He’€™s still got a huge ego. The NBA doesn’t want that out of their coaches unless it’€™s Phil Jackson or somebody who’€™s already established themselves at that level, at the highest level of winning championships.”

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal

Which Celtics will go down fighting with Brad Stevens? (AP)

When even the coach is admitting some Celtics may be mailing in the remaining five games, it’s hard to ask a serious question without receiving quips like, “Is it possible for them to go 0-6?” or “Can they sign Walter McCarty to a 10-day contract?”



BEN ROHRBACH

BIO | ARCHIVE


That is my tweet following Friday night’€™s nine-point Celtics loss to the 76ers in a game in which Boston was favored by double digits. And after sleeping on it, I feel even more strongly that this was the C’€™s best loss of the season.

Now sitting alone in the fourth lottery position, Boston is coming off of a crushing blowout at the hands of the Wizards and an embarrassing home loss to Philly. Seriously, everyone who came off the Sixers bench I had to Google to find out who they were. This season is not worth trying to figure out anymore.

The only thing worth understanding? Nothing is more valuable than losing these final games. Boston could realistically finish with anywhere from the fourth-best to seventh-best lottery odds, it’€™s that tight. Look, it sucks to cheer for your team to lose, I get that, but it’€™s almost over. Next year the Celts are going to be on the rise whether Danny Ainge uses his draft picks or trades them. So if you truly bleed green, you can cheer for just a few more losses before we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But is anyone even paying attention? The Red Sox are kicking off their World Series defense, the Bruins are at the same point of the season as the Celtics, only as the top team in the East, and the Patriots are working out some of the top quarterbacks in May’€™s draft.

Honestly, there is nothing on the court worth watching right now when it comes to Celtics basketball. The highlight of the last couple of months came on Monday when Rajon Rondo was in the booth calling the first half of Celtics vs. Bulls. The next big date for the Celtics is May 20 — the draft lottery. So here is something short term and something long term for Celtics fans to pay attention to until the big date.

In the short term, well, fortunately, we have the Final Four. This is our last chance to watch college hoops until next season, at the price of many of the top prospects already being sent home. But Kentucky is an interesting team to watch simply because of Julius Randle. A lot can happen between now and June, but right now Randle is expected to be about the fifth pick in the draft — the Celtics are expected to hold about the fifth pick in the draft. See the connection there?

We know the book on Randle by now, but the team goes much deeper than its best player. Kentucky will try to do what the Fab Five were not able to do, capture a national title while starting five freshmen ‘€“ all of whom project to the NBA. A big reason Kentucky is where it is today is because of the Harrison twins. Andrew Harrison (PG) and Aaron Harrison (SG) both will be first-round picks when they choose to leave school, as they have really matured during March Madness. James Young is a talented wing player who has struggled with consistency this season, but his potential is obvious. That alone will keep him an intriguing NBA prospect when he decides to declare. Finally, there is Dakari Johnson, the 7-foot project. It seems like almost all 7-footers these days come as a project, but at only 18 years old he is an interesting prospect given his combination of size and skill.

Although the Wildcats steal all the headlines, each of the other three finalists has some sneaky-good NBA talent. UConn has been carried to the Final Four by star guard Shabazz Napier, who still is only projected as a mid-second-rounder by many. Even if the Huskies do not win it all, Napier’€™s Kemba Walker-like tournament makes him a first-round talent in my mind. Remember that back in 2011 scouts were lukewarm on Walker before he launched himself to the ninth pick with an impressive March.

Florida’€™s Patrick Young is another upperclassman projected to fall in the same area as Napier, which sounds about right for him. But it’€™s more of a hidden prospect from Florida who no one seems to be talking about who could have the biggest NBA impact. Freshman Chris Walker came in with high regards but was unable to play until February due to academics. With a team as hot as the Gators were, there was really no reason to force the 6-foot-10 Walker into the lineup. He plays sparingly, but when he does he has an impact. Walker’€™s stat line against UCLA in the Sweet 16 was seven points, three rebounds and a block in merely six minutes. He is all potential at the moment and clearly would benefit from another year in college. But if he does declare, he is a first-round talent.

And then there’€™s Wisconsin, almost the underdog at the Final Four at this point. The Badgers usually tribute their success to their coach and their system, and although that plays a huge role, they also have a clear star: Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky does not have athleticism that will blow you away like many of the other players in this draft (he currently does not even project to be taken with a pick), but he does have a skill set that fits the NBA. As much of a pick-and-roll league as it has become, the NBA is just as much a pick-and-pop league, and Kaminsky can do both. At 7 feet he also can score in the low post as well as defend on the other end of the floor. Kaminsky is a junior, so if he feels he does not have decent draft stock he can return, but in my eyes he is an NBA-ready player.

So those are some fun short-term things to watch if you’€™re a C’€™s fan. However, the long term leading up to late May is much more unsettling. We know Andrew Wiggins will be on the draft board in June (and quickly taken off the board), but we can’€™t say the same for fellow top prospects Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.

Some scouts have gone as far as to stop scouting Parker because they are already convinced he will be returning to Duke next season. Here is ESPN’€™s Chad Ford on the stars returning to school: ‘€œBoth are weighing their options. Both are seriously considering returning … with Parker so much so that several scouts are claiming he’€™s coming back to school.’€ Ford did go on to say that all of this is ‘€œpremature’€ since both players will have until April 27 to make their decisions. ‘€œParker is really NBA ready,’€ Ford noted. ‘€œHe could obviously improve if he stayed, but he’€™s a NBA starter from Day 1. He’€™ll get minutes, and playing against the best competition is the best way to improve. The only good reason for him to stay is because he loves college, wants to lead Duke to a NCAA championship and is OK just waiting. But as far as development goes, the NBA is his best option.’€

This is a scary situation. All this losing, and now two of the best players expected to be in the draft might not enter? Either way, continuing to chalk up losses is the right move, you never know how the ping-pong balls will fall or what prizes this draft class could yield. At the same time, this is something Celtics fans have to monitor leading up to the lottery.

The bottom line is simply this: We know so little right now! This summer is going to clear it all up, and by fall I can guarantee you one thing I know — this Celtics team is going to look completely different.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Following each of the Celtics‘ first 52 losses this season, Brad Stevens always seemed to find the silver lining. Avery Bradley‘s defense. Chris Johnson‘s effort. Even Chris Babb‘s shooting. You name it. But after a 111-102 home loss to a Sixers team fresh off a 26-game losing streak, a dark cloud hung over the coach.

Finally, the 2013-14 Boston Celtics broke Brad Stevens.

The captain knew it. ”They were playing harder than us,” admitted Rajon Rondo.

The rookies knew it. “They scored more points than us,” added Kelly Olynyk, “and we didn’t play that hard.”

And the coach sure as heck knew it. ”They played well,” said Stevens. “We played not well. That’s it.”

Including Wednesday’s 26-point debacle against the Wizards, the Celtics just suffered perhaps their two worst losses  – or best, depending on how you look at it — and that’s saying something in a season full of defeat.

“I’ve had no problem with our effort prior to these two,” said Stevens, “but these two we got the result we deserved.”

Whether it’s the result they wanted is an argument for a different day. After laying an egg in the nation’s capital two days earlier, Stevens expected more from these burnt Celtics. He got less. Sure enough, they were toast.

Stevens admitted there’s a contingent of Celtics that may have already called it quits with six games left on a lame duck schedule, but refused to name names — other than to say Phil Pressey is not among them. As any good coach will do, he accepted his share of the blame for losing a locker room that can see the end in sight.

“We’re not pulling in one direction right now, and that’s got to be the responsibility of the head coach,” said Stevens, pausing between almost every word as if coming to grips on the podium with the reality of the first losing season in his head coaching career. “So, yeah, you’re assessment of our play tonight is spot on.”

Stevens chooses his words carefully. So, when he belabors a point, it should resonate for anyone willing to listen.

“I don’t think we’ve been a great detail team all year,” he said. “Obviously, as a coach, you expect everything to run perfectly, but I think we can get a lot better in that area. And the last two games I thought we just were a little bit more behind in that area. And, again, the responsibility of everyone pulling in one direction is on me.”

There’s enough blame to go around. In fact, things have gotten so bad Stevens can’t even begin to conjure up a lineup that would solve the questions surrounding this team. “I don’t know the exact answer to that to be quite candid,” he said. “I don’t know exactly who to put in there to make that happen. I wish I did, but I don’t.”

Not even Rondo, who submitted his first triple-double of the season, is safe from criticism. After all, the Celtics have won 44 percent of their games without their All-Star point guard the past two seasons and 36 percent with him.

“He’s had his moments,” said Stevens, “but like all of us he can get better.”

In these final six games, Stevens is hoping to discover who’s with him and who’s not. Rondo appears to be on the same page. “We have everything to play for,” said the point guard. “We have pride. I have pride. We have pride as a team, Celtic pride, and right now we’re not displaying that at all.” As Stevens said, each loss stays with him “somewhere around forever,” and it’s not easy to see the light after 53 of them.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

This was far from a nationally televised game, but Rajon Rondo managed his first triple-double of the season — and first since tearing his ACL on Jan. 25, 2013 — but it still wasn’t enough for the Celtics in a 111-102 loss to the lowly 76ers.

This was far from a nationally televised game, but Rajon Rondo managed his first triple-double of the season — and first since tearing his ACL on Jan. 25, 2013 — but it still wasn’t enough for the Celtics in a 111-102 loss to the lowly 76ers.

Rondo finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists, but the Celtics dropped their seventh straight game to fall to 23-53. Jerryd Bayless led the C’s with 23 points. Brandon Bass (11 points, 12 boards), Jeff Green (15 points), Kelly Olynyk (14 points) and Jared Sullinger (10 points) also reached double figures.

The Sixers, meanwhile, “improved” to 17-59. Philadelphia and Boston have the second- and fourth-worst records in the league, respectively.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Everything: The Celtics barely shot 40 percent from the field and committed 22 turnovers against a team battling for the NBA’s worst record. Need we say more?

Worst first: The Celtics failed to come out firing on all cylinders against the Sixers. Instead, the engine wouldn’t start. They started 0-for-7 from the field and committed three turnovers over the opening 4:29. Luckily, Philly nearly matched their ineptitude, only taking a 6-0 lead in that span.

Powe-r to the people: Early in the first quarter, the Celtics showed Leon Powe on the Jumbotron. The highest profile member of the 2008 championship team the Red Sox could convince to take part in their home opener festivities earlier in the afternoon, Powe received a smattering of applause from a surprisingly sold-out crowd. He probably deserved more than that, but perhaps then again Celtics fans may have forgotten how to clap this season. Although, they did manage to orchestrate a wave as the Celtics trailed 74-69 late in the third quarter, so there’s that.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Mondo Rondo: The Celtics had just six field goals in the first quarter, and Rondo assisted on five of them. He also had half of their rebounds in the quarter. Since returning, he’s made a concerted effort to get his teammates involved early, forgoing his own scoring in an effort to ignite the offense. In that respect, little has changed. And without him, it’s unclear whether the Celtics would have qualified as a basketball team after 12 minutes.

Bayless is more: Starting in the absence of Avery Bradley (strained right Achilles), Bayless found his stroke after a shaky first few minutes, and the fireworks continued throughout an otherwise ugly first half. He probably could’ve done without the double No. 1 finger salute to the sky on a 3-pointer in the opening quarter, but he managed 18 points — including 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc — before the break. Through 24 minutes, Bayless started 6-of-12 from the floor, his teammates were a combined 10-of-32 (31.3 FG%) and the Celtics lead 51-49.

Over the Hump: The Kris Humphries-Brandon Bass frontcourt has not been a successful pairing, getting outscored by 10.4 points per 100 possessions, and yet Celtics coach Brad Stevens has started the tandem for the past 19 games. By halftime of the 76ers game, apparently, he had seen enough. Stevens finally inserted Jared Sullinger into the starting lineup to begin the third quarter. Of course, that didn’t work, either.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

John Wall had 13 points and 10 assists in leading the Wizards to a 118-92 rout of the visiting Celtics on Wednesday night as Washington clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2008.