Heading into Atlanta for game five, the Celtics had an opportunity to close the series quickly and get almost four full days of rest before the start of the second round. Those days would have allowed Paul Pierce some additional treatment and downtime on that sprained MCL ahead of a matchup with Andre Igoudala. They would have given Kevin Garnett, who logged high leverage minutes in game six, a chance go catch his breath before chasing all the Philly athletes around the floor. Most importantly, they would have given Ray Allen additional recovery time for his ankle, which has regressed from recent days. Via ESPN Boston:
[Allen] said his right ankle (bone spurs) bothered him a lot in Game 6 on Thursday and that the pain is back to where it was a couple weeks ago, when he was unable to play.
“This whole last week and a half I’ve been day to day. I’ve had some great days and now I’m back to where I was two weeks ago. I’m just working through that,” he said.
Allen said he won’t know until game time whether he’ll be able to go.
The Celtics blew game five, and barely survived game six thanks to KG’s tenacity, Josh Smith‘s Josh Smithness and a blown call by the refs. Now, less than 48 hours, they’re back into the grinder against the Sixers, who will try and run Boston off the court. Mercifully, none of the threatened playoff back-to-backs have materialized in the schedule, but what happened against Atlanta can’t happen against Philadelphia.
The Celtics need a quick, decisive end to the series (less wear and tear during the series) and a few days off before the conference finals (more rest afterwards). If they don’t get this, if the Big Three aren’t able to hit the conference finals with more gas than they have now, Miami is going to make short, quick work of this Celtics team.
It’s always been about playoff health for this Celtics team and they’ve arrived shattered to bits. In the next two weeks, they need to find four quick wins and healthier players or we’re headed for another season where LeBron James and Dwayne Wade head to the Finals, and the Celtics go home.