Make no mistake: it is difficult to go into a visiting building and defeat a team from the other conference, but it might be more difficult to go winless on the road against an entire conference for a whole season. Well, with their 94-89 loss to the Mavericks on Monday, the Celtics did just that for the first time in franchise history.
Dating back to the 2012-13 season, the Celtics lost their last 20 road games against Western Conference opponents, which is the longest current losing streak of this type in the NBA. It sure has been a long time since the green won a contest at a Western Conference arena: Fab Melo was on the active roster, and Al Jefferson played for the Jazz. It was February 25, 2013, and Boston defeated Utah in overtime, 110-107.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they are not alone. By the end of the 2013-14 season, the Celtics could be one of three teams since 2012-13 to lose every single-season interconference road game. In addition, while the Celtics are setting new lows for their franchise this year, six other teams have played just as poorly against the Western Conference over the last five seasons, including the 2012-13 Detroit Pistons. This Celtics season was bad – I cannot argue with that – but by comparison to some other squads, it was just not that bad.
The Celtics share the miserable winless road record with a couple of familiar teams. Last season, the Pistons who were coached by Lawrence Frank – of course, a Celtics connection – and went 0-15 away from home against the other conference. The similarities do not end there. The 2012-13 Detroit basketball team finished with a 4-26 record against the West. The 2013-14 Celtics also went 4-26 in those games. However, the C’s do not hope that they continue to be like those Pistons because they picked eighth in the 2013 draft.
Back in 2011, the Celtics drafted E’Twaun Moore with the 55th overall selection, and he is currently on a team that allows him to embrace his Boston roots. The 2013-14 Magic began the season 0-11 on the road against the West. On Tuesday evening, Orlando begins a four-game road trip against – you guessed it – four Western Conference teams. The only team of those four that Glen Davis’ former squad has defeated is the Lakers.
If all goes as planned, the Magic will lose in Golden State, Phoenix and Utah. Then, it will all come down to the terrible Lakers. It will not be easy for Orlando, a team that is on a five-game losing streak (including a loss to the Bucks, yes the Bucks), to get a victory because each of the four games is involved in back-to-backs. So, we will have to see if the Magic can join the Celtics as the teams to go the full 2013-14 season without a victory against the other conference. Go West! (Well, maybe not the Lakers)