The Boston Celtics are currently in 7th place in the Eastern Conference with only a 1 1/2 game lead on th Milwaukee Bucks.
There’s been a lot of talk among the media that says the Celtics don’t really care if they avoid the 8th seed or not. They’re content with facing the Miami Heat whether that’s sooner or later. That couldn’t be further from the actual truth. And with the Bucks riding the Celtics’ tails, their sense of urgency should be higher than its ever been right now.
The Miami Heat haven’t struggled with the Boston Celtics at all this season. They’ve won two out of the of the three meetings so far this season and if not for a 43 point anomoly from Jeff Green, they wouldn’t have stood a chance in the most recent game the two rival teams played.
The Celtics realize how good the Miami Heat are. They aren’t scared to play them because they’re professional athletes at the end of the day. They’re also going to run into them if they hope to make an Eastern Conference Finals appearance anyway–so they can’t be afraid.
The Celtics are looking to avoid another skid like they had in the previous week. Boston is looking to bounce back on this four game homestand starting with the Detroit Pistions. The issue is that they haven’t been the same team defensively without Kevin Garnett.
Garnett serves as the secretary for the Boston Celtics defense. He makes sure that it is organized, well paced, and that everything is operating correctly. It starts with him and his decision making on that end of the floor. The Celtics haven’t been able to find the proper line-up combination to fill the void that he’s left with his injury. Grantland.com’s Zach Lowe explains more here.
the Celtics have allowed 106.6 points per 100 possessions when (Brandon Bass and Jeff Green have) shared the floor, per NBA.com. That would rank 25th overall for the season, which is a problem, since the Celtics as a team have actually allowed 99.8 points per 100 possessions — the sixth-stingiest mark in the league.
Of the 43 two-man player combinations that have logged at least 250 minutes this season for Boston, only the Courtney Lee–Chris Wilcox combo has been worse — and only by a smidgen, at 106.8 points allowed per 100 possessions in about 450 fewer minutes than the Green-Bass combo.
The Celtics defense has obviously–and this was honestly expected–struggled defensively without Kevin Garnett. His defensive calls are some of the best in the NBA and the team benefits greatly off of them. Of course the Celtics are going to struggle without him.
Luckily for Boston, this four game homestand comes with perfect timing. Another bonus is that their remaining schedule is pretty easy. In their last eight games, Boston will face Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Orlando, and the Pistons tonight.
The Celtics couldn’t have a more perfect opportunity to recover and keep their position in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully they take full advantage of this.