What’s that saying again? Old habits die hard? Yeah, that would apply here.

While the Patriots were busy beating the Colts, the Celtics were heading to Atlanta, fresh off a stinker in Toronto. Two days before, they lost to the Kevin Durant-less Thunder.

The C’s don’t have a problem going hard against powerhouses, but they can’t find the bullies in themselves when they battle the weaklings.

Last season, it was called the Rasheed Wallace effect. Many thought that ’Sheed’s lack of regular-season motivation spread. Well, Wallace is gone. What is the real problem? We take a look:

Why C’s struggle

1 No big men. Jermaine O’Neal has been MIA, and Shaq and backup Semih Erden are nursing injuries. With Kendrick Perkins out until mid-January, C’s are in a bind.

2 No Rondo, big problem. With Rajon Rondo — the NBA’s assists leader (14.3) — suffering from a left hamstring injury, the C’s can’t run their offense.

3 Back to basics. Celtics are 27th in scoring from the free-throw line (17.0). And they aren’t attacking the rim enough.

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