BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics still have a lot to play for in Wednesday night’s regular season finale, with home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line, but that might not be the most important aspect of their game against the Miami Heat.
Once a team praised for their defensive tenacity early in the season, the Celtics have fallen into a defensive funk as the postseason approaches. They’ve lost two straight, surrendering 118 and 114 points against the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets, respectively, and have given up an average of 106 points per game over a 9-9 stretch dating back to March 5.
While there are a handful of playoff ramifications on the line Wednesday night when the Celtics host the Heat, play-by-play man Mike Gorman is hoping for a return to their defensive identity as they hit the playoffs.
“This is a team that built their whole reputation on being a defensive team; you can’t give up 114-118 points a game and expect to win, because the Celtics can’t score that many points. The big thing tonight is do they get back to who they are, which is primarily a defensive basketball team,” Gorman told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday.
As for their “best-case scenario” for the playoffs, Gorman wants to see the C’s clinch the four seed in the Eastern Conference and host the Heat in the first round. That will happen if they win, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Wizards.
“[I want to see the Heat] for a number of reasons, not the least of which is there is a certain buzz in Boston if you play Miami and Dywane Wade,” said Gorman. “If you play Charlotte I think there is a big yawn, and people don’t really like Atlanta. They have no pizzazz even though they’re very good. Boston-Miami is the best thing for the Celtics; get home court by taking care of business tonight and play Miami Saturday or Sunday in Boston.”
Gorman also touches on Jae Crowder’s impact on the defense, and just how under-appreciated the Charlotte Hornets are in the Eastern Conference playoff picture: