The Boston Celtics might have taken too much rest over the All-Star break, after losing their first 3 games after the break. After a close loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, it was followed by back to back poor games against the Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors.
It went down to the wire against Milwaukee, where Khris Middleton made a clutch 3 pointer to give the Bucks a one-point lead. The ball was in Kyrie Irving’s hands at the end of the game, where he missed a tough left-handed floater. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford struggled all game, combining to shoot 17-48, around 35% from the field.
The game against Toronto, however, was a completely different story. After leading 32-30 at the end of the first, Toronto outscored Boston 33 to 13 in the second quarter, and it was over after that. Marcus Morris had a team-high 17 points, while Irving only had 7.
These are two games against top tier teams in the Eastern Conference, making them must-win games. If they face off against Toronto or Milwaukee in the playoffs and play like that, Boston is going to have some problems.
The loss to Chicago was just hard to watch. Again, after leading in the first quarter, the Celtics struggled to score in the second quarter, which lead to Chicago to go on a run and get the lead. Despite Irving’s 37-point performance, Zach Lavine’s career high 42 points to go along with Lauri Markkanen’s 35 points got Chicago the win.
These are games that the Celtics need to win. A tough game against the best team in the East, led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, is somewhat reasonable because of how close it was, they just need to close out. The two losses to Chicago and Toronto, however, are unacceptable. Toronto is still a problem in the East, and the Celtics just weren’t prepared. But CHICAGO… the 16-44 Chicago Bulls… that was just embarrassing. Boston needs to turn it around ASAP if they want a high seed and home-court advantage in the East.
The Celtics, who are now 37-24, are facing off against the Portland Trail Blazers, who are 37-23, on Wednesday night in Boston. Dear God, we need this win.