By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA has announced game times for the final two days of the regular season, and it does not bode well for the Boston Celtics. Not that much has boded well for the Celtics over the last few months, but Boston is now staring at two afternoon games as they cling to the Eastern Conference’s seven-seed and a home game in the play-in tournament.
In a season of bad showings from the Celtics, afternoon games have been some of their worst. In nine games that tipped off at 3:30 p.m. or earlier, Boston went just 3-6. It would appear as though the Celtics are not morning people — or early afternoon people for that matter.
And now, with Boston just 1.5 games ahead of Charlotte for that seven-seed, the C’s have a 2 p.m. tip in Minnesota on Saturday and a 1 p.m. tip in New York in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Knicks.
The Celtics aren’t very worried about where they fall in the play-in tournament, with Brad Stevens hinting after Wednesday night’s putrid loss to the Cavaliers that Boston’s regulars (the ones that are still healthy) may not even play in the final two games. That may simply be a move to save them the embarrassment of two more matinee defeats.
Of Boston’s nine afternoon games, five have been against teams out of the playoff picture or currently in the play-in round. Overall, the C’s have surrendered an average 110 points in those afternoon games. It hasn’t been pretty, with a few exceptions.
Here’s a quick glance of those early tips for Boston:
Sun, Jan. 3 — 3 p.m.: A 122-120 win over the Pistons in Detroit — Boston’s only win against the 20-win Pistons this season
Sun, Jan. 17 — 1 p.m.: A 105-75 home loss to Knicks, which was just an all-around ugly day for the C’s
Sun, Feb. 7 — 2 p.m.: A 100-91 loss in Phoenix (West Coast time, but an afternoon game nonetheless)
Sun, Feb. 14 — 1 p.m.: An absolutely embarrassing 104-91 loss in Washington
Sun, Feb. 21 — 3:30 p.m.: A 120-115 OT loss in New Orleans in which Boston blew a 24-point third quarter lead
Sun, March 21 — 3:30 p.m.: A 112-96 home win over Magic. Whoopee.
Sun, April 11 — 3 p.m.: A 105-87 road win over the Nuggets that saw the Celtics close the game on a 40-8 run; perhaps the team’s best win of the season
Sun, April 25 — 1pm: A 124-104 road loss to a Hornets team that did not have LaMelo Ball or Gordon Hayward
Sun, May 9 — 1 p.m.: A must-win game for the Celtics, but they fell behind early and lost 130-124 at home to the Heat
The Celtics just have not been ready for the majority of their afternoon games this season, and now a home game in the play-in tournament is on the line. We’ll see if the Celtics — or the B-team Celtics, depending on their approach to the final two games — are able to buck a trend that has been haunting the team all season.