In a sort of pseudo-dramatic irony, the Celtics were swept on St. Paddy’s day weekend. While Bostonian revelers bounced around from pub to pub, the Boston Celtics were thousands of miles away in Denver, Colorado suffering their second straight loss to a beatable opponent.
Going forward, the schedule doesn’t seem to get any easier for the C’s, which could be the most discouraging part about losing to the Kings and Nuggets. After beating a young, athletic, and talented Clipper team, the Celtics failed to carry any momentum into Sacramento. The loss in SacTown seemed to carry into Denver and now the Celtics are 2-3 with three more road games. To make matters worse, the C’s play the Hawks (25-19) and Sixers (25-20) and both games are guaranteed to be tough, energy-sapping games. All the more reason it hurts so much that the C’s lost their last two.
While using games against the Hawks and Sixers to get back on track may sound like a terrifying, if not impossible, prospect there is one added silver lining. The Sixers are struggling only slightly worse than the C’s right now. If the Sixers continue to struggle in their next two games, at Charlotte (ha!) and at home versus the Knicks (it could happen) and the C’s pull out two wins against the Hawks and Bucks, the Celtics could go into their showdown against Philly actually up a game and a half (26-21 and 25-23, respectively). Even if the C’s lose to the Hawks, the Sixers beat Charlotte, and everything else stayed the same, the C’s would go into Philadelphia down a half game. Either way, these next three games could mean a lot to the C’s reshaping their playoffs hopes.
The news gets a little better after these next three games as well. Take a look at the C’s next 7 games (including the last three of their current road trip).
From the looks of things, the Celtics could continue to see more wins than losses. Since this post is supposed to be encouraging, I am not even going to touch the schedule starting in April. That’ll be for another time when you don’t need a little pep talk.
Remember: it’s important to keep the loss to Sacramento in your mind whenever you try to schedule wins. Any team can beat any team on any given night. It’s why they play the games. These are just some optimistic predictions.
We’ve seen the Celtics sleepwalk through the middle of the season in the past. Two years ago, the Celtics lost to the Lakers in the finals and they played the last 2/3rds of the season at near .500 basketball (30-27). Nobody thought the C’s were going anywhere that year and they ended up a quarter away from their second Championship in three years.
I’m not ready to say the Celtics are fine. They aren’t. They have a lot of unsolvable problems (poor-rebounding, age, desire, injuries). I’m just not ready to completely give up on them yet. This is why we care, right? This is why we watch every single game. If we knew without a doubt that the Celtics were not title contenders, Danny Ainge would have flipped the big three for first round picks. We’d be assured a completely different roster next season. By not trading any of the Celtic starters, Ainge could be saying one of two things: 1) the Celtics are still title contenders and everyone could be here for this season and beyond, or 2) no one offered the Celtics anything of value for their aging core. I choose to believe the former.
The time to get down to business is now. Okay, the time to get down to business was two games ago, but now the Celtics have no choice. It’s business time.