There’s a saying, Boston Celtics fans, that goes something like this: “They’re just playing for pride at this point.”
Up until tonight, applying that saying to the Celtics meant that the Cs should play hard, be competitive, but accept the fact the fact that they were almost certainly going to lose to a better team.
But losing to the Philadelphia 76ers? Oh hell no! 2014 NBA Draft be damned, I can’t stomach the idea of losing to the 76ers, so if Boston players have any shred of pride left they will come out focused and play a full 48 minutes of basketball in the TD Garden tonight!
Boston is currently tied with the Utah Jazz for the fourth-worst record in the NBA with matching 23-52 records. Sure, a win tonight will push the Celtics back to sixth, and one game closer to the Los Angeles Lakers (25-50) and the Sacramento Kings (27-48), but the odds of Boston winning enough games to allow either of those two Western Conference teams pass them in the race to the NBA draft are slim-to-none. Even if Boston wins both of its upcoming games against Philly, they could do no worse than tie with LA, and LA has beaten Boston twice this season, meaning Boston would still rank higher in the draft lottery rankings.
I have spent a great amount of time talking about how important it is for the Boston Celtics to attempt to instill the work ethic and desire required to be a championship in its younger players this year, even as the team fumbles its way to a 50+ loss season. Losing to teams who are clearly better than the Celtics – roughly what, 75% of the league – should not demoralize up-and-coming players such as Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Phil Pressey. But losing to a team that recently tied the NBA record for most losses in a row? I dare say that might actually cause Olynyk’s fragile Canadian will to play to curl up into a ball and refuse to come out ever again.
Not to mention, just think how angry Rajon Rondo would be to lose to the 76ers. Free agency, anyone?
Tonight’s must-win game is set to tip off at 7:30. Follow me on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics as I will these Boston Celtics to prove they are ONLY the fifth-worst team in the NBA this season!