It’s April 4, it’s snowing, Buddy Heild was held to just nine points in the Final Four, and the Celtics beat the Warriors in Golden State to stop their 54-game winning steak at home?
Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming, or having a nightmare, I can’t decide. The snow in April and Heild, the guy I hope the Celtics get in this year’s draft, scoring nine in the biggest game of his career could both be considered a nightmare, but the Celtics defeating the Warriors is where it gets tough.
Sure winning was great, but as a pessimistic Celtic fan, I can only imagine that this incredible high will only be followed by some sort of disastrous low. The C’s managed to escape LA with a win in their final battle with Kobe, but if I know the Celtics, a let down game is right around the corner. Not only that, but now the Celtics have somewhat of a target on their backs as they close in on the playoffs.
Teams around the league have known that Boston was a force to be reckoned with for some time, but this win over the Warriors legitimizes it. Teams will no longer take the Celtics lightly. So while it’s great that the C’s finally earned the recognition they’ve so desperately yearned for all season, it could come as a blessing or as a curse. It all depends how this team chooses to embrace it as they enter the last five games of the regular season.
The Celtics handled their treacherous five-game road trip pretty well and came out on the other end with a winning record of 3-2. In my eyes, they won two out of the three must win games on that trip by defeating the Suns and Lakers and while they probably should have beaten the Trailblazers, they made up for it in a big way by knocking off the Warriors.
Now the Celtics will have a couple of days off to rest before taking on the Pelicans at home on Wednesday. This will mark the beginning of the most important five games of the season. After New Orleans the Celtics will take on four Eastern Conference foes; the Bucks (who are no slouches), the Hawks (The Celtics are tied with them for third in the East, but the Hawks hold the tiebreaker), and the Hornets and Heat (both currently a half game behind the Celtics). Luckily, the Celtics were able to clinch a playoff spot with Sunday night’s win in LA, but it will come down to these last five games to find out what seed they will be when the playoffs begin. That’s why it is CRUCIAL that the Celtics win out and take control of the No. 3 seed in the East.
Going forward, the games against an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans team and the Bucks are must wins. As for the match-ups against the Hawks, Hornets, and Heat, they’re all going to be bar-fights and will have playoff-like atmospheres as the Celtics will wind up facing one of those three teams in the first round of playoffs. So on one hand it sucks that the Celtics will have to endure three tough games, but they could serve as great tune-ups for a first round playoff matchup.