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Our reader, Ken, left a very compelling comment in our most recent game recap of a Celtics loss, Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. I think there’s a lot to be said of the Celtics’ recent struggles, and Ken associates it with boxing, which I think works.
The Celtics took few punches in their first 29 games (when they started 27-2). Then, they faced a heavyweight in the Lakers, and while they weren’t blown off the court, they suffered their first real knockout of the season.
Most boxers get a little time in between fights, but the Celtics were back at it the next night, and lost to an underachieving Golden State team. They temporarily lost their sense of urgency after destroying the Kings, as they now have lost to some stumbling teams (the aforementioned Warriors, the Knicks, and the Bobcats) and teams without their big stars (the Blazers and Rockets).
Now, they face up against another big heavyweight this season in the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they have trouble with the Knicks and Bobcats, how are they going to handle the hot Cavs?
Friday night against the Cavs is crucial for many reasons. With a win, the Celtics re-establish themselves as an elite team in the Eastern Conference by beating their potential rival for a No. 1 seed. They take down the mighty King James (LeBron) and re-ascend the throne among the NBA’s best.
With a loss, however, the Celtics would be sent into a tailspin. Not only can they not defeat bad teams anymore, but they’re being pushed around by good teams as well. The Celtics would begin to be legitimately questioned as an elite team.
Personally, I don’t see the Celtics beating the Cavs on Friday, and part of me wants to see a Celtics loss because it will only motivate them for the future. With this recent slide, which would turn into seven losses in nine games if the Celts were defeated Friday, the Celtics would have real room for improvement, which is a great thing at this stage of an NBA season.
When they were sitting at an NBA-record 27-2, I remember Paul Pierce saying how they needed to improve their play. Now, after a 2-6 stretch, I think it’s urgent. They really need to improve their play, or they may not make it back to the NBA Finals to defend their crown.
Despite all the negativity surrounding the team lately, I will have my eyes closely fixated on Friday night’s game. Can the Celtics regain their footing? Or…will they suffer yet another defeat? Stay tuned…and I’m sure our reader, Ken, will also probably tune in, despite echoing all Celtics fans’ frustrations so clearly:
I don’t know, I just don’t know if I can even watch the Cleveland game.