Boston Celtics, 12-17
Decision: Buy low
The Boston Celtics have been as up-and-down a team as they come this season, producing a 41-point win on the road against the New York Knicks and then blowing big first-quarter leads at home en route to losses against the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards. Coming out hot, only to wilt in the face of your opposition’s comeback, is a sign of a team that lacks on-the-floor leadership down the stretch. As well as Jordan Crawford has been playing, the Celtics miss Rajon Rondo’s ability to direct traffic and pick up his game in crunch time.
Having said that, the fact that this Celtics’ squad is sitting at 12-17 and playing such good team defense leads me to believe that the team has a better second half of the season in store for them. If Rondo can return to the hardwood in January as is hoped, this team has a legitimate chance of playing above .500 ball after the All-Star break, and that alone could be good enough to take the division crown.
If I’m a betting man, I don’t bet against coach Brad Stevens, but since so much of the Celtics’ success hinges on when Rondo returns, and how quickly he regains his form, I am only buying low right now on the Cs chances of finishing this season first in the Atlantic.