The Boston Celtics were hailed as one of the most deserving contenders in the Eastern Conference, but inconsistencies dominated the air in the regular season.
The Celtics ended up losing four consecutive games following the All-Star break. Even sharp gamblers who know how to read basketball betting lines were caught off-guard by the team's losing streak.
Recently, Kyrie Irving, the star guard, gave insight on the team's problems and conceded that he can't afford the prospect of the team not playing in the top league until the regular season is over.
“I can't wait for all this to be over. I keep talking about what we can do to play better in the regular season. We just need to play at the highest level.”, Irving said.
To make a case for the Celtics, he gives the example of the Cleveland Cavaliers team of 2017, which advanced to the NBA Finals, though struggling at times.
Irving explains, “We have lost a few games consecutively before sweeping the entire Eastern Conference. When we're playing at our highest level, nobody can really beat us in the Eastern Conference.”
Is the losing streak over?
Though Celtics’ won against Wizards following a 4-game losing streak, it dropped one against Rockets.They did, however, score another win against the Sacramento Kings afterward.
Last year, it was interesting to watch how resourceful Boston’s roster was when the Celtics advanced just a game short of the NBA Finals even though Irving and Gordon Hayward were not available at all throughout the postseason. Players such as Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown showed immense capability and carried on with the offensive that Irving and Hayward are usually supposed to bring to the game.
Boston is currently placed fifth in the Eastern Conference, but it is only three games away from reaching the 3rd standing. If the Celtics manage to go up in the standings, it is more likely that they will get to play easier teams in the initial stages of the playoffs.
Can this team really make a turnaround?
There is some substance to this notion; the refresh button on April 9 can really aid Boston. Regardless, its accomplishments in the regular season would not make a difference to how it is eventually going to be judged.
If Boston is able to turn things in its favor in the postseason, its inconsistencies will be remembered as part of the journey.
However, what is apparent is that the team must get its act together in dealing with adversity if they are serious about staging a comeback from a tough loss or in-game run.
In the postseason, Irving is expected to be particularly motivated and Boston has a reputation of pushing the elite competition. Maybe, Irving’s narrative this week changed due to this. The regular season is surely mentally exhausting and he recognizes the need to get past the ordinariness of the regular season. He seems to be suggesting that the team is going to play perfectly in the playoffs, thanks to his presence.
The good news is the Celtics have stayed at the top of the ESPN’s Basketball index.
There’s plenty of hard work ahead for the team before it recovers from the recent losses. But they must know, the reward will be that much sweeter.