What is Ailing the Celtics?

Jeff BennettContributor IJanuary 11, 2009

Here we are on a snowy New England morning and the World Champion Boston Celtics are in a tail spin. 

After a franchise and league record setting winning streak that was dashed on Christmas Day by the Lakers, it has been mostly downhill since then.  What is happening here?

I have watched this team very closely since the entrance of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen over the Summer of 2007.  The introduction and integration of the these two veterans with Paul Pierce was masterful. 

It was portrayed as "Pauls Team," but KG and Ray were there to help lead the Celtics to banner No. 17.  No selfishness.  This was transformational for Pierce and the result was winning that 17th banner and the Finals MVP.

Everything started out just as it ended for the 2008-09 season.  The Celtics were not the same team having lost James Posey and PJ Brown, but all things were great. 

The Lakers exposed a big weakness in the Celtics line up though...the lack of a back up big man.  This has been exploited further by the Rockets with Big Baby Davis playing defense on Yao who is 12 inches taller.  This past Friday, LeBron and his Cavaliers beat the Celtics up again.

I am hoping that this can be addressed by a combination of manageable steps:  rest for the big guys and the addition of a big man to fill the hole lost by PJ Brown.  PJ can we lure you back...you could be to the Celtics what Roger Clemens was for the Astros and Yankees.

There has been lots of chatter about bringing in Marbury.  At first glance this does not look like a good thing for the chemistry or health of the Celtics. 

I would suspect KG is a big fan of this as he played with him.  It sounds like ownership/management and other players are against it.  I hope that this is not a negative undercurrent here.

I am also hoping that this is not some seismic shift of chemistry by this very talented team.  Something definitely changed on Christmas Day, and I hope that it is not some combination of infighting or ego. 

We shall watch this very closely.  Hopefully the Celtics can turn this around and stay in the hunt here for leadership in the East, as home court advantage is very big for the Celtics in the playoffs.