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The Boston Celtics had a tough time this week as they held a 19-point advantage after the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night (thanks in part to a great tip-in play), but collapsed over the final three quarters to end up losing 107-106. They may have won their other two contests against the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves to make it a 2-1 week, but blowing a huge lead against a team with a close record is not something this team can do on a regular basis.
There is good news, though, as point guard Rajon Rondo is one step closer to returning.
After recovering from his torn ACL, Rondo took a step forward by being cleared for full contact practice last Friday. In fact, many Celtics players stayed late in order to give Rondo some extra 5-on-5 reps at full speed. The point guard hasn’t played in an NBA game since last February, but should be ready for game action in January.
This could mean a lot of things for the Celtics, including a notable trade before the deadline involving the All-Star. Other deals could involve Jordan Crawford, who has really played well in place of Rondo since coming over from the Washington Wizards in a deal last season.
Whether Rondo comes back and makes a difference, or just shows he is healthy enough to be a great asset again, the point guard will return before the season is over. And that is good news for the Celtics.
The Celtics could use some good news after they held a 43-23 advantage at home on Wednesday evening before letting that lead slip away in the second half against the Pistons. The lead was over 20 at one point and it should’ve been another victory for the green team.
It looked as if everyone was trying to do too much after the first quarter and that allowed Detroit to get back into rhythm on both ends of the floor. That is not the way the Celtics should be playing in order to make a postseason run. It may not be a far run, but the Celtics have a chance to claim home court if they can win the division. The lead is only one game, but any wins will help this team make a push.
Tanking should be off the table at this point, but a loss like this might make it a real option if a 20-point edge can just vanish against a weak team in the conference.
Only two games on the table this week with a contest Saturday at home against the Washington Wizards and a Sunday game on the road against the Indiana Pacers. The Wizards game will be difficult since they are playing well offensively. And we all know the Pacers are just so good, especially at home.
My prediction: 1-1