4 reasons why the Boston Celtics losing In-Season Tournament was a good thing

On Monday night, the Boston Celtics were defeated by the Indiana Pacers 122-112 to see their In-Season Tournament chances come to an end. Although technically it was only a regular season game, I am sure the Celtics players and the fans were expecting them to at least get past the Pacers in the tournament. While winning is the standard in Boston, especially for a team seeking their 18th banner, I am here to tell you why missing the trip to the finals in Vegas is a good thing.

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers: Quarterfinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers: Quarterfinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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No. 1: The Boston Celtics have long homestand in which to rebound

While the trip to Vegas and the In-Season Tournament title would have been fun for the players and fans, it would have resulted in long travel days and a completely different time zone than Boston. Instead, if we take out the In-Season Tournament loss to the Indiana Pacers, that will be eight straight home games. When the December 17 game against the Magic comes around, the Boston Celtics will have been at home for 22 out of 23 days.

Not only that, but the Celtics will get three full nights off before their next game against an Eastern Conference Rival; either the Knicks or the Bucks.

No. 2: Regular season success does not guarantee postseason success

As much as we enjoy watching regular season domination as fans, there is no guarantee that any success in the regular season will translate to the postseason and (hopefully) the NBA championship. Just last year, the Boston Celtics lost the the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the playoffs. Despite having the second best record in the NBA during the regular season, the Celtics failed to even reach the finals. In the 2016-17 season, the Celtics had the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference and also failed to reach the finals. Although there are different reasons for these shortcomings whether it is matchups, injuries, or other factors, there is no guarantee that regular season success leads to postseason success.

Additionally, for the multi-sport Boston Fans, there are countless examples with the Bruins and Patriots that preach the same idea. Not to bring up any bad memories, but the undefeated Patriots lost in the Superbowl after dominating the regular season. Last year, the Bruins broke an NHL record for regular season wins yet they still lost in the first round of the playoffs. In the NHL, the last nine Presidents' Trophy* winners have all failed to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

*For those who do not know what the Presidents' Trophy is, it is the trophy granted to the winner of the regular season.

This is not to say that winning during the regular season and creating good habits is not important, it is simply not the end of the world.

No. 3: Injuries to key players

If you are one of the fans who watched the Monday night game, it clearly had a different vibe surrounding it compared to just a normal regular season game. Although this was not an extra game, the energy in this game felt closer to a playoff game than to an early December regular season game. Throughout the game, it seemed like both Jrue Holiday and Derrick White were a little banged up as they could be seen grabbing their legs in discomfort.

Thankfully, it seems like both knocks are minor and they will be fine. However, it would be a true travesty if one of the Celtics' stars went down with an injury due to the added competitive nature of the tournament. As we have seen in the past, especially in the playoffs, when the games get tougher, the Celtics have struggled to stay healthy. The last thing they need are injuries from trying too hard to win the In-Season tournament.

No. 4: Focus on Banner 18

With the extended stretch of home games, the Celtics can take the next few weeks to spend time recovering, hanging out with their families, and enjoying the holiday season.

While everyone is surely disappointed to not bring home an extra five hundred thousand dollars, the team needs to stay connected and focus at the task at hand: winning a championship for the city of Boston.