Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part “three-man weave” on CelticsHub.com. Check back tomorrow afternoon for another fresh perspective.
When I see this question, I interpret it as asking me this: Do these regular season losses mean the Celtics are more likely to lose to these teams in the playoffs?
I don’t think they do. Look, of course we’d all like the C’s to be 4-1 in those games, but to sit here and wring our hands over a team that’s 42-11 is a bit ridiculous and something fans of 26 teams in the league would roll their eyes at.
The fact is, three of those losses were toss-ups late in the fourth quarter; only the game at Cleveland was one-sided, and that was the Celtics third game in four days — in the middle of their worst stretch since the Big 3 arrived.
Plus, the Celtics are 2-0 against Orlando, a team that was a real, true blue championship contender before Jameer Nelson’s injury. That makes the Celtics 3-4 against championship contenders, and that doesn’t look so bad.
Are there concerns with this team? Sure. If there are two constants in those four losses, they are these:
- The Celtics turn the ball over too much.
- Those four teams shot comfortably over 40 percent from three-point range in those four games.
There’s nothing to be done about the first concern. The Celtics are what they are, and they turn the ball over a lot. The second concern is a bit more worrying. Celtics opponents are shooting 34 percent from deep this season, still good, but a significant notch higher than last season’s 30.5 percent mark. Is this just random statistical noise?
Are the Celtics saving their maniacal close-outs for the playoffs? Does the team get tired more easily after last year’s prolonged playoff run? I’m not sure what the answer is.
But I know this. I could easily go through recent NBA history and cherry-pick championship winners who fared poorly against other contenders in the regular season. The 2004 Pistons, for instance, were 2-4 combined against the Pacers and Lakers, the teams they faced in the final two rounds of the playoffs that season. The 2006 Miami Heat were 1-5 combined against the Pistons and the Mavericks, the teams they later faced in the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
If we’re going to worry, let’s worry about Powe disappearing for games at a time, Eddie House toggling between “ice cold” and “red hot,” Tony Allen taking one step forward and two steps back and whether the Big Three are going to have tired legs in June.