The Boston Celtics need to continue this hot streak going into the All Star break
The Boston Celtics are fresh off one of their most difficult wins of the season against the Utah Jazz. On the road, without two starters in Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, the second unit had their best performance of the season, and the Celtics had a comfortable lead for almost the entire game.
Other than the disastrous performance against the Cousinsless Kings, the Celtics are currently in the midst of their best stretch of the season. They have won nine of their last 10 games, and their next three games are against much lesser teams. Bradley will be out until after the All Star break, but getting Crowder back should be enough for the Celtics to easily win these last three games.
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The Celtics have had a firm hold on the two seed since finally defeating the Toronto Raptors this season, and this run is exactly what they needed to keep the Cleveland Cavaliers on edge for the number one seed. It is still a long shot for the Celtics to get that home court advantage, but going into the All Star break having won 12 of the last 13 games is the right place to start.
The Celtics can feel great about the difference between the one and two seed is the same as the two and the three seed, but both the Raptors and the Washington Wizards are right behind them. If the Celtics start dropping games to teams under .500, they will quickly see that two seed disappear. In such a close and tight Eastern Conference, the Celtics realize how important it is to make sure they have home court in a potential playoff matchup against either the Wizards or the Raptors.
The Celtics will be facing the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls prior to the All Star break, and while these are games they have been winning for the majority of the season, that reality check against the Kings is a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted, and all these teams are better than that Kings team they played.
The Mavericks have put their unbearably awful start to the season behind them, and are fighting for that final playoff spot out West. The 76ers have been the surprise team of the year and, Joel Embiid or not, they have proven they can beat teams that are much more talented than them. Then there are the Bulls, who are also fighting for that final playoff spot. The Bulls have been a disappointing so far this season, but they have already played the Celtics tough, and as long as Jimmy Butler is playing, they have someone that can take over any game.
The bottom line is that the Celtics need to continue this great stretch heading into the All Star break, and with how they have been playing, they should be big favorites in all three of these games. The Celtics clearly need this break to rest up, and if they can close out with these three final wins, they will be in uncharted territories for Stevens.
The Celtics did a great job of competing for the three seed last season, but never even approached that top seed. As long as the Celtics keep that gap between them and the Cavaliers under three games, they will come out of the All Star break with a chance to do what few thought could be possible this season.
The Celtics are at their peak of the season, and will be in a great position to improve following the All Star break. Whether its health, chemistry or an addition through trades, the Celtics know that they can be a lot better. Looking to improve on the current stretch may be a bit unrealistic, but this is the kind of winning they will need to maintain in order to keep the race interesting during the final playoff push.
The Celtics should feel great about where they are, but all of it is erased if they do not close out these last three games. They are finally consistently winning games, and it could be detrimental to their chances at home court advantage if they cannot win these last three games.