Celtics quietly add another loss to record
While the focus of the region's sports scene was on the New England Patriots on Saturday night, there was another development occurring.
The Boston Celtics dropped their second game in a week, the first time that has happened since the dark days of last April.
With losses to the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards over a four-day span, the Celtics have "slipped'' to 30-5 as the midway point of the season approaches.
"We spoiled ourselves a little bit,'' forward Kevin Garnett told reporters after an 85-78 setback to the Wizards in the nation's capital.
The Celtics get the chance to settle a score with the Wizards right away as the two teams meet again tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden (7:35 p.m., TV: Comcast SportsNet; radio: WEEI-850 AM).
After losing to the Bobcats with Ray Allen on the sidelines, the Celtics fell to the Wizards with point guard Rajon Rondo (sore back) unavailable.
The absence of Rondo was noticeable as the Celtics had problems when they were trapped near midcourt by the Washington defense and turned the ball over 21 times.
Tony Allen, who replaced Rondo in the starting lineup, had four turnovers in 25 minutes and Paul Pierce had six in 39 minutes.
The lack of depth at the point guard position has been a concern since backup Eddie House is more of a shooter than a distributor.
Rondo, who was injured during Friday night's win in New Jersey, will be evaluated to see if he can return for the rematch with the Wizards. The Celtics did not practice Sunday.
With the trade deadline Feb. 21, there will be more speculation about the Celtics trying to acquire a veteran point guard to have behind Rondo.
In addition to their problems with turnovers, the Celtics were embarrassed in the rebounding department, allowing 20 offensive rebounds and 26 second-chance points by the Wizards.
Washington, which had not beat a team with a winning record since Dec. 1, got nine offensive rebounds from Antawn Jamison and finished with a 49-30 overall edge on the glass.
The Celtics had a season-low point total and wore a confused look in the fourth quarter when they were outscored, 25-13, and were outscored, 15-4, to end the game. Boston was unable to hold a seven-point lead, the second time during the week it was overtaken in the final period.
This marks the only time all season the Celtics will be playing the same opponent in back-to-back games, and it could get interesting.
There was a lot of trash-talking during Boston's loss to the Wizards with Pierce and Caron Butler, the former University of Connecticut standout, going at it on numerous occasions.
"It's going to be a big game,'' Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson told reporters. "We were talking back and forth, so they're going to be ready.''
The Celtics will spend the entire week at home as they entertain the surprising Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Five of Boston's next six games are at the Garden with the only trip a short plane ride to New York to face the Knicks a week from this afternoon on Martin Luther King Day.
Streak is over
The loss to the Wizards halted Boston's road winning streak at 10. That ties for the second-best in franchise history with the 1960-61 team, three shy of the record set by the 1964-65 squad …The Celtics have been held below 90 points just six times this season, including the last three games against Charlotte, New Jersey and Washington … Paul Pierce (16,109) has a chance to pass Bob Cousy (16,955), who is fifth on the Celtics' all-time scoring list, by the end of the season.