It is obviously too early to set the playoff picture in stone, but if the season were to end today the Boston Celtics would be out of playoff contention and in the lottery. It may be beneficial to be in the lottery, but we all know this team has a desire to win. Even Jared Sullinger’s New Year’s resolution was to win the Atlantic division and make a playoff run. However, the Celtics find themselves on a recent skid, and their playoff hopes continue to falter.
The Celtics have now lost five out of their last six games. In that stretch, they have blown big leads and have struggled to put together a complete game. Against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night they were completely out-hustled. The Bulls came up with many loose balls and had quite a few put-backs. The Celtics did a lot of things right, however; they rebounded better, held the Bulls to a low shooting percentage, and were able to get to the free-throw line. The difference was offensive efficiency. The Celtics committed 19 turnovers while the Bulls only committed 13. Chicago’s ball movement was beautiful to watch. They trusted each other and were team-oriented. Also, Joakim Noah stepped up with a near triple-double, and Mike Dunleavy made key plays off the bench. Boston, on the other hand, failed to put a run together and could not execute. With the exception of Jordan Crawford who scored 22 points, no one could get it going on offense.
The Celtics are looking at 13-19 record, and the road only gets tougher. On Friday the C’s have a home game against a young, up and coming team in the New Orleans Pelicans. Then, Boston will go on a long, West coast road trip to face some of the premier teams in the league. The road trip kicks off with the Oklahoma City Thunder then the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden state Warriors, and Portland Trail Blazers. You’d think the homecoming would be sweet, but it just so happens the Houston Rockets will be in town to welcome the Celtics back home. Remember, the Celtics are 3-9 against teams with winning records, and some of these teams are the best of the best. The Celtics will be lucky to win one game out of the next seven, and they could potentially be looking at a 14-25 record by the end of this stretch. It’ll be interesting to see how the young Celtics fare.