Evaluating the Boston Celtics Down the Stretch
The Boston Celtics may have had possibly the most eventful season of any team league-wide this year, and what makes us think any of this eventfulness will stop now?
With 24 games remaining, the season feels young and revived to the inspired Celtics, who are now only two games out of a fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, which would land them an unlikely home court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. The East has tightened up to say the least, and the Celtics are starting to show true signs of being the favorite among the dark-horses…if there is such a thing.
Doc Rivers has the Celtics playing the best defense in the league since January 1. The impact of Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley on a nightmarish like full-court press has given the Celtic’s a different look, and taken some pressure off the veteran legs.
The Celtics have finally established themselves at home with a very respectable 21-9 record when playing in Boston. They are currently on a 10-game winning streak at home, as the majority of those losses came during the beginning of a shaky season.
The efficiency of the offense will continue to be the biggest question mark when moving toward the end of the 2012-2012 season, along with facing the hard truth that the Celtics will most likely remain a bad rebounding team. The Celtics currently rank at 18th overall in points per game at 96.1 and a troubling 28th overall in rebounds, only averaging 39.9 per game.
These are the cold hard facts that the Celtics will have to face when trying to do some damage in the post season. Still, the Celtics defense ranks ninth overall, but they give up an almost identical number of points that they score on offense. The Celtics will need the committee type of ball movement and overall effort on the offensive end to put teams away early, which they are more than capable of doing with a shut-down defensive mentality.
The Celtics are at their best when their defense creates their offense. With Bradley and Lee coming up with steals and fast break points, the Celtics are not a preferred match-up no matter where they are seeded. After three huge injuries, what could have turned into a “lost” season now feels like it’s just begun.
Eric St. Cyr Covers the Boston Celtics for Rantsports.com Follow Him on Twitter @EricJsaint