In a season that pinnacled with a two appearances at the top spot in the ESPN.com weekly NBA power rankings, the Boston Celtics fell two more spots to No. 7 this week, finishing the 2010-11 regular season at their lowest position of the year.
Writes curator Marc Stein: "Maybe it's just me, but I would have expected these Celts to try to rally around Perkins' exile by vowing to spite Ainge for doing the deal. Never expected a 9-10 funk with Rondo failing to reach 10 assists 13 times."
The Celtics were stalwarts among the top 3 for much of the season, rising from No. 2 in the preseason poll to No. 1 after an 8-2 start. They didn't dip lower than No. 4 through the first 18 weeks of the season. Ironically, it was right after the Kendrick Perkins trade that they fell to No. 5 and haven't risen above that spot since.
Need some encouraging news? Check out the graph below that charts their trend through each of the last nine seasons. You'll notice Boston had plummeted to No. 12 by regular season's end last year. Do they have another charge in them?