We got one of those cool atmospheres at TD Garden last Friday night. We’ll get another one Tuesday (7:30 p.m., CSNNE) when LeBron and the Cavs arrive to play the C’s.
But relatively soon, the Celtics need to make sure there’s a vibe each and every night in their home arena. The in-house musician can’t always rely on the visiting rock star to bring the energy level up.
Yup, we’re well aware that the 2015-16 Celtics are far from great. But in the Celtics’ slow evolution into a great team (most C’s backers think it’s coming in the next few years), there needs to be a few signature wins along the way.
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The C’s were oh-so-close to nabbing that signature win of the Brad Stevens era last Friday in the double-OT loss to the Warriors. They played with great energy and their play that night tired out the best team in the NBA, so much so that the Warriors’ unbeaten streak came to an end hours later in Milwaukee.
“Good job! Good effort!” as that famed Miami Heat fan once said.
At some point though these “nice tries” need to pay off in the form of a big win for Boston.
By my count, the Celtics have had five “main event games” in the Stevens era. There was last Friday against Golden State. And the four playoff games last year against the Cavs.
The C’s came horseshoes-close on several occasions, but didn’t win any of ’em.
There have been some encouraging victories this season for sure. The C’s more or less got old friend Kevin McHale axed in Houston when they won by 16 points on the road in mid-November. Wins over the Thunder (minus Kevin Durant), Hawks, Wizards, Heat, Bulls and Hornets have been nice as well.
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But if the Celtics are to be taken seriously by the rest of the league as a top two or three seed in the East (which many people are projecting them to be right now), there needs to be a “Lead on SportsCenter” type of victory between now and the spring.
The Celtics will be getting a well-rested Cavs team on Tuesday as LeBron and Co. haven’t played since routing the Magic in Orlando last Friday night, 111-76. The Celtics haven’t played since beating the Hornets 98-93 last Saturday, so there will be none of that back-to-back night witchery going on that this season’s Celtics have mastered. The Celtics are just going to have to beat Cleveland straight-up on Tuesday.
The big game atmosphere will be there. But so far, it’s an environment in which the Stevens-era Celtics haven’t exactly thrived in.