I know, I know. Since breaking the longest franchise winning streak the Celtics are only 2 up and a stunning 5 down. However, I am here to offer all of the Boston fans, who I know are beside themselves right now, a little positive food for thought. Here are a few reasons why there shouldn't be Basketball panic in Bean Town:
1) 29-7 is an amazing record. If you were asked before the season if you would be happy with the Celtics winning 29 of their first 36 games, I'm sure every one of you would say "yes!". When you're the defending champs, everyone comes out gunning for you, and to tell you the truth, I'm surprised the Celts didn't go on a losing streak long before this.
2) The other top teams are sliding as well. Although not on as grand a scale, the Cavs and Magic, who are the C's top competitors in the East, have hit their own rough patches. Orlando has lost 2 of their last 5 (Detroit, Toronto) and the Cavs have dropped 2 of 3, one of those loses coming at the hands of the lowly Washington Wizards who the Celtics spanked a week ago by 25. This just goes to show that good teams can lose.
3) There is only one thing consistantly going wrong for Boston: 3-point offense and defense. Over the last 5 games the Celtics have been at or around their season averages in rebounds, assists, steals, points in the paint, turnovers, and pretty much everyone other offensive and defensive stat except for 3-point percentage. Compare these stats to their season averages of 36.3% (offensive) and 32.9 (defensive):
1/28 @ Sacramento: Celtics 6-18 (33%), Kings 4-18 (22%) WIN
12/30 @ Portland: Celtics 3-14 (21%), Trail Blazers 6-15 (40%) LOSS
1/2 vs. Washington: Celtics 12-20 (60%), Wizards 2-12 (16%) WIN
1/4 @ New York: Celtics 6-25 (23%), Knicks 9-22 (40%) LOSS
1/6 @ Charlotte: Celtics 6-23 (26%), Bobcats 7-16 (43%) LOSS
When 3-point field goal percentage is down, look no further than Ray Allen, who is shooting well below is season average during the last two weeks. The C's struggled when Allen slumped last season as well, but one of the NBA's all-time best shooters will turn it around, and so will Boston. The three-point defense is also a product of Allen's shooting woes because when the C's don't hit shots, their opponents get leads, and when you have leads you can wait for the open shot more patiently and find guys that are open behind the arc. The most important thing is, when you only have one thing that is broken, your team is not hard to fix.