The trade deadline cam and passed without a move from Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge. Many expected the Celtics to either blow up the big three or add another piece to aid them in their final season together.
Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are likely playing their last seasons in Boston while Paul Pierce's role is sure to decrease over the coming years.
But before we get to all that, the Celtics have to try to fight for one last shot at the finals and wrap up their playoff spot. Here is what the team needs to do:Health:
The Celtics have already lost Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox for the season because of heart conditions, Jermaine O'Neal followed with a degenerative wrist condition while Mikael Pietrus return remains unsure after suffering a seemingly severe head injury this past week. Ray Allen has also been in and out of the lineup at times this year while Avery Bradley missed a game recently also.
If the team is to even reach the playoffs, then they cannot afford to lose any more players from an already depleted roster.Hit the Rim:
The Celtics are first-and-foremost a team of jump shooters. Even though the Dallas Mavericks won the title last season relying mostly on jump-shooting, generally that was the exception to the rule. The teams that go far in the playoffs more often than not dominate the paint and get easy baskets. The Celtics have struggled to do that all season.
Because of the team's overall age, and Brandon Bass' preference to shoot outside, they are not threats to repeatedly dunk or lay the ball in the basket. The Celtics may have outstanding shooters, but even the best shooters can't keep up with players consistently attacking the basket.Look to Garnett:
When the team was at it's best with the big three, Kevin Garnett was a dominant defensive player and leader. With Garnett playing a lot of center this year, the team has lacked that inside physical presence to prevent teams from working inside with ease. Garnett can't become a dominant center overnight but if the whole team steps up it's play defensively then his job would be a lot easier.
Playing Avery Bradley more with Rajon Rondo appears to be an option as both are excellent perimeter defenders with the intelligence to pressure the opposition into mistakes as a unit.Use the Coach:
Doc Rivers is a very experienced head coach who has seen it all. In order to really compete, Rivers will need to be inventive and put his players in the best position to succeed. Coaching cannot account for a lack of athleticism in transition but he can control both the half-court offenses and defenses.
Playing with discipline will be huge for the Celtics from here on out. Discipline in their strategy as well as on the court.