- Bradford Doolittle
Last summer, in an effort to keep his aging team's window for contention open, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge used his cap space to re-sign Kevin Garnett, replace departing free agent Ray Allen with the duo of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee and retain Jeff Green, who missed the 2011-12 season because of heart surgery.
Instead, the Celtics floundered in mediocrity both before and after the season's defining event -- Rajon Rondo's season-ending knee injury in January. Boston struggled to a 41-40 record and finished with a negative point differential.
During the season, Ainge attempted to paper over roster deficiencies and injury voids with a slew of acquisitions, none of which made an impact in the postseason. Boston entered the playoffs with no healthy point guard on the roster, and the Celtics failed to reach 80 points in three straight playoff games for the first time in franchise history. Garnett and aging team captain Paul Pierce could no longer carry the load, as Boston was swept out of the first round.
Here's the good and bad from the Celtics this season. But more importantly, what's next for them this offseason?
The defense: The Celtics finished in the league's top 10 in defensive efficiency for the sixth straight season, though its No. 7 finish was their lowest since Garnett joined the team in 2007. The defense was even passable in the playoffs but wasn't good enough to overcome Boston's offensive ineptitude.
Bradford Doolittle examines what the next steps are for the Boston Celtics after their first-round elimination from the NBA Playoffs.