ESPN.com's 5-on-5 tries to play problem-solver for teams in its latest edition. That includes the Celtics:
1. What's the biggest problem facing the C's?
Tom Haberstroh, Heat Index: The human condition. The Celtics are effectively the oldest team in the East and their only wins have come against league basement-dwellers in the Wizards (twice), Nets and Pistons, who are a combined 5-27. Is there anything sadder than a trio of white-knuckled future Hall of Famers desperately clinging to their relevance? Well, aside from Greg Oden.
Brendan Jackson, Celtics Hub: The Celtics have lacked consistency so far. Their erratic play has caused GM Danny Ainge to re-evaluate expectations. He is already on the record as saying he's willing to "go another direction" if the starters don't start performing.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: Defense, which is surprising for a Celtics team that led the league in many defensive categories a season ago. Boston is 19th in defensive efficiency and let up a number of easy buckets toward the end of its most recent loss against the Mavericks.
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: The easy answer is old legs. But old legs didn't keep them from almost out-defending the Bulls night after night last season. Ask yourself this: How would they be defending if a certain center who plays great position defense was still there? They essentially traded Kendrick Perkins away for nothing now that Jeff Green is out. Boston without defense is like a BLT without bacon; the Celtics are nothing without it.
Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Co.: Kevin Garnett's odometer. KG is no longer the dominant defensive force he used to be. Just last season he posted a plus-8.3 difference in PER over opposing power forwards. This season, that difference is down to plus-1.4. He also used to win the battle against opposing centers, but now he is getting abused by 5s, to a PER differential of minus-6.5.
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