It’s weird to talk about winning opportunities with such uncertainty in the air, but this is where this Celtic team has found themselves. After dropping a Big Three Era-high 5 games in a row, the Celtics’ collective mood got caught in a sort of fog of ambivalence.
The Celtics don’t like to lose. You could see annoyance on their faces after losing a tight one to Dallas, frustration when they let a big lead build against Chicago, and then when Oklahoma City burned them in the fourth quarter — positivity?
The loss to OKC was easily the most complete game the Celtics played during this five game skid and that fact was not lost on Paul Pierce:
“Overall, I thought we really defended them really well. I really liked the effort we had tonight, the way we played on the glass, the way we competed, and I was telling the guys if we keep playing like that night in and night out…because we can feel we are getting closer and closer to where we need to be even though we lost tonight.”
It’s one thing to get back to feeling confident enough in the way you are playing. It’s another thing altogether to go out and beat the other team.
I’m not sure if Paul actually feels that way, or he knows that the Celtics have a favorable schedule coming up. Let’s take a look at the C’s next ten games:
This section of the schedule looks pretty good for the C’s. Not a whole lot of scheduled losses in there. Let’s break down some scenarios:
Best Case Scenario:
8-2. Let’s assume 10-0 is completely out of the question. The Celtics lose one game in each of the home-and-homes while avenging early season losses to the Pacers and Knicks.
7-3. On the conservative side, but let’s say the Celtics steamroll through the Raptors, Suns, and Wizards only to catch Orlando on the SEGABABA making them 4-1 at that point. Let’s also say they lose to Indiana (SEGABABA) and New York, two teams that can definitely beat the C’s.
Worst Case Scenario:
5-5. The Celtics lose to Phoenix (because they seem to lose to them every year regardless of personnel), both games in Orlando (they’re playing much better than the C’s right now), Indiana (because the C’s haven’t beaten them this season), and Carmelo Anthony proves to be too much. Phoenix has been pretty terrible this season, so the C’s could theoretically win that game but also drop one of the home-and-homes with the Cavs, thus still leaving them at 5-5.
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We’ll know a lot about this Celtics team after tomorrow night’s game against Toronto. If the C’s come out and destroy the Raptors, the locker room is going to feel much more inviting. If the Celtics lose at home to the Rap Show, this team is going to be in real disarray.
Given the team’s intensity level on Monday night, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say the C’s will go 6-4. I’m hedging a little, but that home-and-home with Orlando and then the immediate return home to take on Indiana is giving me pause.
What do you guys think? How will the C’s do in the next ten games?