During the Boston Celtics’ final six contests, they will play four games against potential playoff foes—one each against the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. The schedule is daunting, but the Celtics have shown a tendency to play better against better teams. (Boston Globe)
“I would rather have it that way,’’ [Ray Allen] said. “These last six games, I would want it to be the best teams in the NBA. I want them to be the teams who are going to challenge us and keep everybody focused and let everybody know that we’ve got to play, so we go into the playoffs with that vigor, that intensity.’’
I wish the prospect of home court advantage had been enough to keep the Celtics focused and challenged, but they decided instead to bike downhill without pedaling—in other words, they decided to coast. Not that Allen expects more of the same tonight, when the Celtics host Philadelphia.
“I expect to get a lot [of intensity] because I’m mad they beat us last time,’’ he said. “That’s got to be fresh in everybody’s mind, knowing that we’re home and we’ve got to right the ship.’’
I know better than to expect the Celtics to play hard and smart tonight. I’ve noticed that going into games with no expectations actually makes watching better. If the C’s throw a dud, I expected it and was prepared for it. If they don’t, I’m pleasantly surprised.