Before the NBA playoffs can officially begin for the Boston Celtics, they must get up for one more game. Tonight, Boston takes the floor for the first time since the bombings that took place on Monday, and even though they’re not playing at the TD Garden, it will still be an emotional game for the players. While usually the last the game of the season doesn’t mean a lot and is a time for the players on the bench to get a majority of the minutes, tonight can be a good opportunity for the team to get into a good rhythm.
Here are the keys for Celtics as they prepare for the playoffs.
- Tonight should be treated as a practice or exhibition game as neither the Toronto Raptors or the Boston Celtics gain anything with a victory. Doc Rivers can use this time to get players who are on the fringe of his playoff rotation a chance to execute plays in a game instead of in the practice facility. Players like Shavlik Randolph, Jordan Crawford, and even Terrence Williams should expect some minutes in the postseason, and getting them prepared and knowing the game plan would be something that Boston needs to accomplish. It is unknown who is playing or sitting tonight, so whoever is on the floor must learn how to play with each other, otherwise this game could be chalked up as a loss.
- There really is no importance to the game, but there is always need for improvement. Rebounding and ball control should be main focal points tonight. The Celtics have had difficulty rebounding on both ends of the floor which can be attributed to their lack of size. But effectively boxing out and putting forth effort to secure missed shots is one way of diminishing the disparity in rebounding. Boston also needs to limit turnovers, and with the playoffs literally around the corner, they can’t afford to make careless mistakes that may cost them a series in the postseason.
For Celtics fans the playoffs is all that matters, and the anticipation is building for a strong showing against the New York Knicks. Due to the circumstances surrounding Boston at this time, Game 3 of the first round, when the Celtics first return to the Garden since the recent tragedy, will be a very emotional time. While there are individuals who are trying to disrupt the everyday lives of people, Boston has come closer together than ever before. For any sporting event taking place throughout the city, the showing of support from both the fans and teams could potentially propel these teams further than expected. Boston has the greatest fans in the world, and when the playoffs roll around, they’ll show that they’re also the toughest.