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Celtics notebook

No answers for lack of offense

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / January 21, 2012
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The Celtics hit another low in a 79-71 loss to Phoenix last night, their worst offensive production in a home game in eight years.

“It’s tough,’’ Ray Allen said of the Celtics’ 5-9 start. “I’ve played on teams where you lose a lot. But, now, this locker room is - we’re not losers. This hurts everybody deeply, so we’ve got to figure out how to get better and how to help each other get better.’’

Allen scored 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting, the most field goal attempts he has had in three games.

“When I score a lot, the offense seems like it’s so much easier because I’m open, I’m getting great looks, Kevin [Garnett] gets great looks, same thing for Paul [Pierce],’’ Allen said. “Right now, we don’t have that freedom offensively, that movement.’’

This was the lowest Celtic point total in a home game since a 78-68 loss to Detroit Jan. 5, 2004, and the lowest regular-season score since an 88-71 defeat at Phoenix last season. The fewest points the Celtics have scored since Allen and Garnett joined the team for the 2007-08 season was in an 89-67 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 2010 Finals.

Rondo on hold

An MRI taken of Rajon Rondo’s right wrist was negative, but the injury caused him to miss last night’s game.

Rondo, injured in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 96-73 win over the Raptors, was leading the team in minutes and had not missed a game. Rondo’s status for tomorrow’s visit to Washington has not been determined.

“He’s getting better, I guess,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “He’ll be OK. [The MRI] was negative, but he’s just not ready to play yet.’’

Rivers said the determination was made Thursday by trainer Ed Lacerte, Rivers receiving a text message while attending a Duke game involving his son, Austin.

Garnett is the only Celtic to play every game this season.

Better fit

Mickael Pietrus, who joined the Celtics last month as a free agent, struggled with the Suns last season. Pietrus said he had a conflict with the Phoenix medical staff regarding a knee problem, which required surgery.

“I could not play [late in the season] because my knee was bothering me so much,’’ Pietrus said. “If they had told me, honestly, I needed surgery, I would have been fine.’’

Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of Pietrus’s departure: “It happens all the time, all over the league. I’m happy for him, he’s in a good place.’’

Pietrus scored 6 points in 22 minutes of action last night.

Unsung hero

Former Boston College star Jared Dudley entered the night leading the Suns in minutes, but began the game on the bench, finishing with 12 points in 21 minutes.

“It’s not a demotion at all,’’ Gentry said. “He’s almost got to be a shot in the arm for the second team. I put him and Channing Frye in to help that group. The thing about J.D. is he will accept anything that’s team-related. It doesn’t matter what you ask him to do.

“He’s one of the most unusual guys in the league. I don’t know how he does it. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to verbalize what he does - he just wins for you.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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