By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are back in Boston for an extremely special — and rare — homestand. Not only do the Celtics get to sleep in their own beds for nearly two weeks, they finally get to play in front of their hometown fans for the first time in over a year.

The Celtics begin an unprecedented seven-game homestand Monday night when the New Orleans Pelicans come to town. It will also mark the first time the Celtics will play in front of fans for the first time in over a year, with the TD Garden now hosting 12 percent of its capacity.

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Both the homestand and having some green teamers in the house should provide a much-needed boost for a Celtics team looking to go on a run. Boston has played just 20 of its 46 games at home this season, going 13-7 at TD Garden. Sitting at 23-23 on the season, good for seventh in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics could certainly use a nice long stretch of home games.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. I feel like I’ve been on the road this whole year, this whole season,” Kemba Walker said after Monday’s morning shootaround. “It can be tough at times with the pandemic going on, it’s a little bit different to be on the road. It’s really great to be back home and be here for an extend period of time. It should help us establish a good rhythm.”

“I don’t know how many teams have played more road games than us,” head coach Brad Stevens said ahead of Saturday’s road game in OKC. “I certainly feel it, personally, and certainly this has been a tough stretch. But I think that guys will welcome the opportunity to sleep in their own bed and get into a routine at home.”

No other team has played more road contests than Boston, which is coming off a four-game road trip. Seven of the Celtics’ 10 games after the All-Star break were on the road.

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While the Celtics are still going to be playing every other day, with a back-to-back toward the end of the homestand, they don’t have to worry about traveling for 11 more days.

“We’re still playing every other night, so we can’t take our foot off the gas,” Stevens said after Saturday night’s win over the Thunder.

Stevens was quick to point out that home games don’t guarantee wins, with four of Boston’s seven games coming against current playoff teams: Dallas, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and New York. The game against the Hornets will be Gordon Hayward’s first visit to Boston after he left for Charlotte this offseason, and that game against the top-seeded 76ers is the biggest game of the stretch.

“I think it’s going to be great. We have some great fans, especially in that building,” Walker said Monday. “The energy is always electric when the fans have an opportunity to show up. Even though it’s going to be a small amount of people, I think it’s going to be really great. It’ll be good to hear some real fan noise and not that fake noise. It’ll be cool.”

“We have our fans coming in, and it’s time for us to go out and play Celtics basketball and go on a run,” Marcus Smart said Saturday.

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This is a golden opportunity for the Celtics to go on the run that they need to jump back into the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The team has clawed its way back to .500, and with seven straight at home — and 11 of 16 overall in the month of April — this is the perfect time for Boston to right the ship. Staff