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The franchise record 18-game losing streak in 2007 was bad, but this is worse

Jay January 31, 2014 Celtics News, Look Back 18 Comments

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Ask any Celtics fan what the ultimate streak of futility is in the history of the storied franchise and they’ll be able to reel off the number and year as quickly as naming the amount of NBA leading championships they have.  Ironically, those numbers are nearly identical (18 for the losing streak, 17 for the titles).  Back then, the Celtics entered the season with intentions on making the playoffs with a bunch of young players with potential being lead by Paul Pierce.  Pierce would sustain a foot injury early in the season, Tony Allen would tear his ACL and things quickly got out of hand.  On January 7th, 2007 the 18 game losing streak began and did not end until over a month later on February 14th with a home shellacking against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fast forward seven years and one awesome championship era later, and this current rebuilding version is mired in a similar mess.  Granted, they haven’t dropped 18 straight or broken that record but there is a solid argument that this slump is much worse.  Prior to Wednesday’s groin kick by Evan Turner, the Celtics had dropped 18 of their last 21 games.  Not exactly 18 in a row but basically the same.  And if you’re holding your head high over home wins against equally pathetic Cleveland (which the C’s could have easily dropped had Bass been called for a foul he clearly committed at the end) or a double OT win in Washington that took every ounce of career best games from Jeff Green and Phil Pressey then, sure, I guess.  The home win against the Raptors has been the only “impressive” win of the lot, and while the Raptors are playing well, let’s not get carried away.

So is this slump worse than the record in 2007?  During the streak in 2007, the point differential average was -8.2 point per game.  During the current slump of dropping 18 of 21, the  differential in those losses was -10.8 points per game, almost three points per game worse.  During the 18 game streak in 2007, the largest margin of defeat was 14 which happened twice. This current slump has had margins of 31, 27, 26, 23, 18.  To be fair, Paul Pierce did not return from injury until games 17 and 18 of that losing streak, but even after they won vs Milwaukee, they went on another four game losing streak.  Rajon Rondo has also returned from an injury this time around and has missed all but five of those games.

We all remember the atrocity of that franchise record streak, but looking at those numbers and watching some of these recent games especially against the Pacers (understandable), Thunder (twice, both without Westbrook one at home without Durant), Nuggets (not exactly a powerhouse) and Knicks (really?) it’s rough to watch.  This is all part of the pain of rebuilding, some parts of it hurt worse than others.  For the long-term the Celtics are actually in a good place.  It’s just the short term that’s been brutal.

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  • Chuck Da buck

    I understand its a rebuild but watching this team play is awful. It’s bad coaching Stevens has them running a terrible slowed down offense and he don’t even know how to teach his team different ways to guard the pick n roll. If it was all our young guys getting a ton of minutes I would be fine with it but its clear to me he’s actually trying to win these games. Maybe he is just trying to keep the veterans happy but its tough to watch why not just start playing all the young guys a ton of minutes and let them get better.

    • Jake Gruber

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but which young guys are not playing? Pressey has started some games, Olynyk has played a pretty good amount, sullinger has played a ton, Johnson who just joined the team 2 weeks ago is playing down the stretch of games. Who else is there? Vander Blue? Haha.

      I think what you’re getting at is that you don’t want Wallace to be playing as much as he is. Or maybe you don’t want Humphries to be playing more than Olynyk. I respect your opinion. But for one thing, the only way to increase trade value is to play guys, and frankly, I think Humphries has done just that. Nearly to the point that I would consider keeping him at the right price. I guess the only veteran I see playing over young guys that doesn’t make total sense is Wallace, but it’s hard not to play a guy that plays as hard as he does. I agree though, he’s pretty bad offensively at least.

  • Brian Girolamo

    He may be having to ‘showcase’ the vets to amp up their trade value. That can be a tough spot for a new coach trying to tell the vets how to play. Especially hard headed vets like Crash. Green and Bass are obviously in a funk, don’t know if it’s that they know their time is up in Boston and are just going through the motions or what, but the team is showing who is playing hard and that’s Sully and Kardashian pretty much.
    Rondo isn’t going to go balls out crazy knowing they can’t make the playoffs this season coming back from a serious injury. He’s going through the motions too unfortunately. Pressey is wearing down, not sure why, but it’s obvious now that Rondo’s back he can’t find the rhythm that he once had. Kelly O and Vito are playing like rookies and hopefully will get going again soon. Bayless will continue to be the same cat he was in Memphis, a hot-cold shooter. AB will come back strong playing for that contract soon enough.
    The gem is Johnson. That kid can BALL. If I were Brad I’d be playing him as much as possible to see if he can be one to sign for the future, letting AB get his $9 mill elsewhere this summer. This team, as is, won’t be pulling together for a crazy string of wins any time soon, but who knows? Maybe the 3 days off will spark some positivity and for the fans sake a few fuggin wins!

    • Chuck Da buck

      Not only Johnson we need to find out about vitor he never gets enough minutes to really be evaluated its getting to that point in the season where all the young guys would get more minutes than the vets. I also think we need to let Vander blue walk and try out some more d league talen on ten days to see f we can find another good player.

      • eddysamson

        Yeah I agree. Vitor could be that Wilcox kinda dude who comes out every now and then for a few quick pick and rolls (or alley-oops) with Rondo and of course some hard defense/fouls on the side.

  • pierce Hart

    Stevens has made a few coaching errors, rookie errors but he isn’t to blame for this. we’ve lost our best two SG’s , lee and Bradley just now, and really there are only 3 players with talent playing. A guy on the mend a 2nd year out of position and a guy who shows up when he wants.

  • Chuck Da buck

    I just saw something where rondo said he’s going to test free agency I’m one of rondos biggest supporters but if I’m ainge and I hear that I def move him this year so we don’t get burned when he leaves for a better situation.

    • Borna Anthony Hlousek

      That was according Broussard; who also happens to be known as a one man rumor mill.

      • Chuck Da buck

        Haha didnt know it was him who said it.

      • tvor03

        Broussard’s exclusive sources are the voices in his head.

  • Brad P

    As far as talent and current injuries are concerned, we’re probably worse than 2007, but it doesn’t quite feel like it to me. The point differential you showed was really surprising.

    Then again, I don’t have the best memory in the world. 2007 was a while ago.

  • bill_nair

    Maybe cause I wasn’t as invested in the 07 draft as I am this one, but I cant say this season has been worse. I mean we had a franchise worse 18 straight losses. As long as we don’t lose 19 straight isnt that a nice silver lining?

    • RedsLoveChild

      What seems to be the problem?

      The Celtics planned all along to “tank away” this season…and, after a shaky start {just 14 losses in the first 26 games} they are now “successfully” on the right track!

      We`re already #3 in the lottery race, and we`re not even at the All-Star break or the trade deadline.

      The Celts are a great tanking team, and as the saying goes…
      “If you`re gonna do bad, at least do it good!”

  • vitamin d

    Yeah, we’ve had pretty large margins of losses this season… sigh.

  • CFH

    That is some bad basketball.

    But from a mental/fan standpoint, this season is a lot easier because Danny Ainge has proven his ability to pull off a rebuild. There aren’t 20+ years of mediocrity, incompetence, and tragedy piled on top of this slump.

    • Herman Bubbert

      Assuming that Ainge is going to find two teams blowing out HOFers at pennies on the dollar again is a dangerous, dangerous thing to do. You can’t.

      Now, is there an idea of how to proceed? Sure there is. We’re well on our way with this disaster of a season to getting a bellcow in the first five picks of the lottery.

      But the 2014 equivalent of KG and Ray aren’t walkin’ through that door.

      • CFH

        Of course not. But I now know that Ainge is competent. He was able to make KG and Ray walk through that door because he stockpiled the assets and didn’t make any frantic dumb moves. He can work the salary cap. He can evaluate talent. If he doesn’t build suddenly through trades, he’ll build gradually through the draft. The Knicks front office he is not.

  • jason benn

    i like the potential of this team. yes when you see those win margins or i guess loss margins its way worse but its still not, 18 STRAIGHT which i think is still way worse at least they are winning games here and there sure some are ugly but who cares, anyone who was thinking the would actually make the playoffs is crazy. Ainge has clearly said this is rebuilding this is what rebuilding in a good way looks like. we have an unbalanced roster with a couple of cry babies (gerald wallace, keith bogans) stevens has to try and manage these guys in the locker room, with some help from ainge sending bogans home. stevens is here to stay once he has a balanced roster watch how just like doc he will show that he belongs in the upper echleon of coaches. doc was a no body coach until the championship year and then with a excellent roster had a great 6 year run with that core. ainge is working along the lines of if it aint broke dont fix it. There are rumblings of green maybe being traded, and so on i wont included rondo because he will not be traded. in a storied franchise like the celtics you dont name someone captain then trade them the next season or the year after. bogans will be gone by the deadline for a pick or just cash something like that, so there are more trades that will happen in a few weeks. i dont like this team at all, i like rondo bradley sully, kelly, heck even chris johnson the rest i can do without maybe some vitor if he would play the rest of the guys are all interchangeable. i dont even think next season they will push for a run either, regardless if they manage a parker, wiggin, or joel. if they make the playoffs i think they will be happy if they dont i dont think they will worry. they are right now showing rondo this is his team and they will make changes as they see fit, that way he resigns next season which he will. broussard is on the same level as mannix in my book guys who have no idea what they are talking about just saying anything to gain popularity. duhhhhhhh of course rondo is going to opt for free agency we know that already when ainge and rondo both said the extension didnt happen. why settle for three years when rondo wants that FIVE YEAR contract. yes this is worse losses then 07 but i dont think its as bad. ill take the 2013-2014 celtics in a game against the 06-07 celtics. though i think big al would light us up again like he normally does, but still id take this team against the 07 team. for clarification i mean the 18 game losing streak team against our current 18 out of 21 team. not a healthy pierce or healthy tony allen then i think it be anyones game with pierce clutching it at the end with a stepback because im sentimental like that. #youcanthandlethetruth