BOSTON (CBS) – After winning five straight, the Boston Celtics came back down to earth in Philadelphia Wednesday night.
Or, they came crashing back to reality.
With a chance to tie the 76ers for the lead in the Atlantic Division (the first time of the new Big 3 era Boston has had to fight for the division), the Celtics looked flat and exhausted, falling to Philly 103-71. And it wasn’t even that close.
Granted, the Celtics were playing their third game in four nights, with their two previous games going to overtime. Wednesday night, their aging vets stood no chance against a young 76ers squad that was ready to run the floor. The C’s are now 0-6 on the road in the second game of a back-to-back. They have seven more back-to-backs to deal with this season, not including their back-to-back-to-back in mid-April. Of their 28 games remaining, 18 will be away from the Garden.
The trade deadline is now a week away, and really, not much has changed for Boston since last week. The Celtics look a little better now that they are over the .500 mark, but remain a middle of the pack team with little to no chance at a championship.
Still, their best bet is to play out the season and let expiring contracts roll off the books. It’s tough to blow the team up, with not many suitors looking to make a blockbuster deal at this point, and Boston would likely get 50-cents on the dollar for any of their players. If anyone were to be traded, it would likely be Ray Allen’s $10 million expiring contract and smooth jump shot that would fit in with any contender.
The Celtics will be in the market to add a center, with Jermaine O’Neal now likely done for the season with a wrist injury. Kevin Garnett has taken over for JO, and played very well, but if a big man becomes available on the cheap, the Celtics should pounce. Whoever they add will be a short-term fix; someone who can help them reach the finish line this season and isn’t signed for the future. They may have to wait for buyout players to become available after the trade deadline to do so, with little to offer in a trade.
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The Celtics up-and-down season will continue, and with an eight-game road trip that includes five games in seven days, there is a better chance it will take another slide.
Maybe a few more Rajon Rondo rumors will spark the team again.