Celtics Will Be Battle Tested Versus Western Conference Elites


The Celtics will be coming out of this All Star weekend rested, and ready to go. They had time to clear their minds from everything that happened during the “first half” of the season. There will be no more excuses coming out of the gates, as they attempt to prove themselves yet again. Do they really need to prove their worth, though? Unfortunately they do with the way things have been going as of late. Under .500 since Christmas day does not sit well with very many people who expected big things from this team.

More than likely, what the C’s show on Tuesday in Sacramento, will decide what the makeup of the team is for the rest of the season. As Chris Forsberg said on the Celtics Late Night Show last night, if Boston comes out and flops, we will probably see some big trades going down before Thursday. If they come out and show they are a different team, then we will probably still see some kind of a trade, but a much smaller situation that will be an attempt to fill a backup role, instead of shipping Ray out the door.

The Kings should be a team that the Celtics can handle quite easily, but anything can happen on the West Coast. They have a speedy point guard in Tyreke Evans, and many players who can put up good numbers. For the Celtics to win, they will quite simply have to play a complete game. This should be a game a championship contending team would win by 15+ points.

The C’s then move onto a brutal 3 games in 4 night stretch that contains the Lakers and Trail Blazers in a back to back, a day off, then onto Denver to face the Nuggets. Obviously I want the Celtics to win in LA, but its not expected by my standards. We proved when they came to Boston that we could handle them. The only other time we are going to have to play them is in 3 and a half months when there may be a matchup between the two in the Finals. Would it be great to whoop their butt now? Obviously, but in the large scheme of things its another game sandwiched in a tough stretch.

Then after an emotional game against the Lakers, the C’s have to move onto Portland in a very tough arena to play in. What makes it tougher is that the home team can play with 6 players on the court. If you wached last years game in Portland you know what I am talking about. Either way this is not a building Boston can get up quick early, then just coast until the end. The Trailblazers keep scrapping and will always look to make a comeback. After the Rose Garden crowd gets involved, there is no holding back.

To wrap up the trip, they finish against the Nuggets. Denver is a very good home team, but is beatable. If there is one thing you can not allow the Nuggs to do, it is start hitting threes. Once one player gets going (like JR Smith) it starts pouring. Suddenly everyone on the court can make anything they take. They are very comfortable at home, and they have Carmelo Anthony back who hasn’t played much as of lately as he was injured.

The key to all of these games is to play 48 minutes. That has been the key for the whole season, but specifically on the road on the West Coast. If the Celtics take but 5 minutes off, it will turn into a dog fight. They can’t get into that fight because suddenly skill turns into momentum, turns into luck. The old cliche is sometimes its better to be lucky than good, well that can be the case when it starts to hit the fan. This is a stretch we would like the team to go 4-0, but I say simply hold on. Get out of this stretch 3-1 or 2-2 and hold onto around the 2nd position in the East.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)