Celtics Lose Two Straight: Is A Late Season Slump Inevitable?

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Every dominant team has its ups and downs throughout the season, and the Boston Celtics (35-14) are no different, but can they avoid a slump in the later portion of the season?

The Celtics currently hold the best record in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and have proven themselves as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Boston traveled to the Orlando Magic (18-29) on Monday for the fourth time this season. Coming in the Magic had lost three of their last four games and hadn’t sniffed the playoff picture all year.

The Celtics were mostly healthy, with Center Robert Williams out with what was titled “left knee injury management”. The Celtics had a tough night shooting and only made it to the free-throw line 11 times.

Orlando took the victory 113-98 in an uncharacteristically lackadaisical night from the Celtics.

The C’s traveled further south to take on the Miami Heat (27-22) on Tuesday. This time, center Robert Williams played 31 minutes, but they were missing guard Jaylen Brown due to “right adductor injury management”.

Miami won the game 98-95, following a disappointing end to the game. The Celtics elected not to call a timeout with just over 20 seconds remaining, down two. Tatum was double-teamed and forced a bad pass which Tyler Herro picked off.

An immediate intentional foul proved worthless, as there was less than a second remaining in the game clock. The Celtics were 5-0 this year without Jaylen Brown prior to this game.

How The Celtics Can Avoid A Late-Season Slump

The Celtics will head home tonight for a matchup with the New York Knicks (26-23). The Knicks are coming off a close home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (29-20), but project to be underdogs in this game.

Boston will be without point guard Marcus Smart, as he deals with a right ankle sprain. This will be the start of a four-game homestand that the Celtics will hope gives them momentum.

“We take pride in being the deepest team, so when people are out, we gotta have that next-man-up mentality,” said Derrick White after the Miami loss.

The Celtics have been good regardless of who plays, as they have arguably the best depth in the league. They will rely on that depth to maintain the first seed in the East.

The question of whether they can avoid a slump will be answered in games like tonight. This is a game that they should win which would end their minor two-game losing streak.

If the C’s can handle their business at home, and stay relatively healthy, they should cruise to being the first seed in the East come playoff time. They currently hold a three-game advantage over the Philadelphia 76ers (31-16).

The recipe for avoiding a slump is simple. Win the majority of games at home, and avoid losing streaks on the road. They’ve proven they are capable of beating any team in the league this year, when at their best.

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