Though the Celtics hit the road on a high note after a big win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they aren’t having much fun in the sun out west.
A blowout win over the Lakers to kick things off had the C’s loving La La Land, but since then, there’s been more drama than this year’s announcement of Best Picture at the Oscars. Leave it to L.A.
First, it was a bad, sloppy loss to a Phoenix Suns team that owns one of the worst records in the NBA. Though Boston clawed its way back to take a lead, it allowed five points in four seconds to lose at the buzzer in stunning fashion.
One day later, you could argue the C’s loss to the Clippers was even uglier.
The Celtics led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before sharp-shooter Jamal Crawford got scorching hot from deep, and erased that C’s lead in a hurry. The Clips didn’t look back, and Boston’s best players like Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder watched from the bench as it happene -, prompting a bit of a call-out from Thomas to the Brad Stevens-led coaching staff after the game.
“We can’t be experimenting in Game (64),” Thomas told reporters.
Is this just a speed bump on the C’s road to the playoffs? Or is it a pot hole that has the wheels falling off?
One thing is for certain: They need to get on the same page before Wednesday’s game against the NBA’s best in the Golden State Warriors (10:30 p.m., CSNNE).
Green vs. Green
Warriors All-Star Draymond Green is never short on words – or questionable actions out on the basketball court. For that reason, he’s become a pretty polarizing figure in the sport. He’s an instigator, and will say and do whatever he can to get under his opponents’ skin. (He’s tried it with Celtics legend Paul Pierce for a while now.) Will the C’s fight fire with fire? A guy like Marcus Smart is not shy, and that goes for a number of C’s players. Expect emotions to run high in this one. Hopefully it won’t come at the cost of protecting the ball, as Boston ranks fifth in turnovers with just 12.3 per game. Against a powerful Warriors offense, every possession counts.
Model of consistency
It’s no secret that in order to win an NBA championship, you need multiple superstars. It’s why the Celtics reportedly tried to obtain one or more at the trade deadline (Jimmy Butler and Paul George). They should believe they have one in Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is far and away their best player, and shows up in virtually every game he’s in. He’s currently scored 18 or more points in 61 straight regular season games, the longest active streak in the NBA, and 80 of his last 82 – almost an entire regular season. And from ESPN: He’s led his team in scoring in 28 straight games, the second-highest amount behind Kobe Bryant (34) in the last 20 years. Say it with me now: Thomas needs help.
Get to your TVs
The last time the Celtics were in Golden State, it made for exceptional entertainment. There’s no reason to believe Wednesday will be different. Last season, Boston snapped Golden State’s 54-game home winning streak with a dramatic 109-106 win as Steph Curry’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds missed the mark. Earlier this season, Golden State more than re-paid the favor, embarrassing the C’s on their home court, 104-88. But that was without Al Horford, who is expected to suit up Wednesday. The Warriors will be without Kevin Durant. And yes, you’ll be tired at work on Thursday.