BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics lost another home game Wednesday night, dropping their record at the Garden to 11-8 on the season.
“I think it’s going to be this type of year. I keep saying it; it’s going to be up and down,” head coach Doc Rivers said after the 98-88 loss to the Pistons in which the Celtics were outscored 25-16 in the fourth quarter. “Every time it looks like we’re about to take off and play well, we do this. I’m hoping at some point, we’ll keep doing this and then we’ll take off. But we haven’t done that.”
“We’re all in this together. There are going to be games we lose to teams like this, but at the end of the day we have to stick together we’ll pull through,” said forward Chris Wilcox, who started for the injured Kevin Garnett and put in 17 points and nine rebounds. “Right now it’s tough for all of us, we have to find a way to grind it out.”
The Celtics have played well recently, winning nine of 10 before dropping three of their last four. But 11-8 at home, to go with 15-13 overall, is not a good record for a team holding on to a lower playoff seed.
The only bright spot is, besides the loss to the Pistons and one to the Cavaliers, the L’s at home have come against playoff-caliber teams, and most as the Celtics were figuring themselves out early in the season. The Celtics dropped four straight at the Garden against Pacers, Mavericks, Bulls and Thunder after taking their first three games at the Garden.
The problem is, now they have two long trips ahead: the five gamer they are about to go on, and an epic eight-game road trip in the middle of March. The Celtics are going to have to get used to staying in hotels, as they play 11 of their 17 games in March on the road, five on the West coast. Eight of their 15 games in April are on the road.
But some say hitting the road won’t be the worst thing for the team.
“We want to look forward now,” said point guard Rajon Rondo, who had a career-high 35 points in Wednesday’s loss. “Hopefully this will bring us closer together, not that we’re a distant team, but the road seems to bring guys together and hopefully we’ll string some wins together.”
“The road-home schedule hasn’t [bothered me]; never did,” said Rivers. “I think we’re really good on the road. So far, we’ve proven we can beat anyone and lose to anyone. That’s the maddening part. What we haven’t proven is we can be a consistent basketball team.”
Really good on the road is a bit of a stretch, with losses in New Orleans and Toronto, and two of their four road wins coming against the Washington Wizards. Some of the better, and even mediocre, college teams could beat the Wizards this season.
Not taking advantage of their early contests at home will come back to haunt Boston as the playoffs draw closer. But getting their act straightened out while on this upcoming road trip could be what the Celtics need to turn things around.
They have a chance to avenge their early season home losses to the Mavericks and Thunder, and the most recent one to the Pistons, over the next week. Now is their chance to take advantage and prove the doubters wrong.
If not, there is always the lottery…. right?