It’s the last chance for the Boston Celtics to establish themselves of the Eastern Conference
Three weeks ago when the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, it was seen as a turning point of the Boston Celtics season. It was the middle of six-game winning streak that reestablished the Celtics defensive swagger, none more evident than the game against the Knicks. It was a tough, hard-nosed game with defensive intensity, hard fouls both ways and an incident that may or may not have included Carmelo’s Anthony wife having the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios. One thing was clear that night. No matter how much the Knicks had improved, the Boston Celtics still owned them and by extension, still owned the Atlantic Division.
Then the Celtics went into a tailspin. They lost their previous four games, showing less and less fight and effort as the losing streak continued. It has gotten so bad in Boston that the normally calm Doc Rivers went on a tirade the other day saying that if things didn’t improve, drastic changes would be made. Now, the Knicks haven’t been world-beaters since the loss to the Celtics going two and three in their last five, but the Celtics are the ones that are pushing the big red panic button.
Given the division stakes, what happened in the last match-up between these teams, and the current emotional make-up of the Boston Celtics, the next three games might turn out to be the most important Celtics games of the season. Questions about their playoff potential and whether everyone is on the trade-block have swarmed around this team. This would make them ripe for the picking. On a younger, less experienced team, these are the situations where the seams crack, the Knicks would smell the blood in the water and they would blow-out the Celtics at home leading to the imploding of the Celtics.
The Celtics aren’t some young, inexperienced team though. These Celtics are led by guys like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that have been here before. That right there makes the current Celtics implosion so shocking. One would think that these guys would rally the troops and would have broken the losing streak two or three games ago, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Quite the contrary. The effort has only gotten worse as the effort continues to pile up. Blame the old legs or whatever, but something isn’t right with this team.
A win tonight would put the Celtics right on track with the team in 2010. Throughout that entire season, the Boston Celtics were an inconsistent bunch, continually dropping games to the worst of the league, but raising their games whenever they took on the juggernauts of the NBA. That is no guarantee that the Celtics will even show up to play or raise their game tonight. The core is three years older than they were back then and for the older guys it isn’t helping them get better. It has been evident that something isn’t right in Boston which makes tonight so important for this team. If they can’t raise their game one more time, it might honestly be time to blow this up.
The Celtics I know would take tonight and make it a goal to prove to a national TV audience that they aren’t done yet, sending shockwaves through the NBA and a collective “Crap, we still have to deal with effing’ Boston”. The 2013 Celtics, however, have only showed once this season they are the Celtics’ I know. I’m not sure if they are, but tonight would be a hell of a time to prove me wrong.