After going winless on their three game road trip, the Boston Celtics losing streak extended to four straight games and more importantly, they’ve lost ground in the Eastern Conference. Boston is now a game and a half behind the Chicago Bulls and two games behind Atlanta for the fifth and sixth seeds in the East. This recent losing streak couldn’t have come at a worse time as the season enters its final month of the regular season. The final week of March is no walk in the park, and if the Celtics want any chance of a higher seed and avoid playing the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers they’ll have to go through the toughest adversity they’ve faced all year.
The Boston Celtics take on the New York Knicks twice this week, with the first game being in Boston on Tuesday night. New York is six and a half games ahead of Boston in the standings with only 12 games remaining. Tuesday is where the Celtics need to make a statement. It’s possible that these two teams could face each other in the first round, and with a strong showing, Boston may put some fear in the beat up New York Knicks minds heading into the playoffs. However, the Celtics just need a win, period. They’re in danger of falling out of the race for the fifth and sixth seeds, and need to keep a watchful eye on the Milwaukee Bucks who are now only a game and a half behind.
After New York, Boston takes on the feisty Cleveland Cavaliers who have already beaten the Celtics once this season. Cleveland shouldn’t be a tough opponent on paper, but this is the team that had a 27 point lead on the Miami Heat without Kyrie Irving. While the Cavaliers eventually lost that game, they aren’t a team to be messed with. The Celtics haven’t shown any signs of playing well against bad opponents, especially on the road, as they are 12-23 away from home this season. Wednesday is definitely a trap game, and Boston must prepare and be ready for a surge by the young Cavaliers.
Before they take on the Knicks for the second time within a week, the Atlanta Hawks come to town. If the Celtics can take care of business in their first two games this week, Friday could be a must win as both teams are fighting for the fifth seed. Boston defeated Atlanta in their last meeting at the TD Garden on March 8th, and another victory over the Hawks would be huge. The Celtics would own the tie-breaker so if both finished with the same record, Boston would get the higher seed. Every game is important, but I’m circling Friday as it holds significant importance if Boston wants to avoid some of the better teams in the first round.
To say that winning a majority of the games this week is a must, is a vast understatement. This is the biggest week for Boston, and taking care of home court and securing victories on the road cannot be stressed enough. A lot of the Celtics success hinges on Kevin Garnett who didn’t play last night due to a foot injury. The team hasn’t released any updates on his status, but as a Celtics fan, you always get concerned when he’s not playing because of an injury. When the playoffs come around, we may look back on the final week of March as what either made or destroyed the Celtics chances to get far in the postseason. Hopefully by April 1st, Boston doesn’t make this week one big joke before April Fools Day.