BOSTON — If you want to feel good about the Celtics, pay no attention to the gigantic asterisk affixed to the following statement:
The Celtics have the fourth-most wins in the NBA.*
*on the road
I told you not to pay it any attention! Oh, well. Now, instead of having a Happy Thanksgiving, you’re just going to spend all your time picking at your cranberry sauce while mulling why in the world the Celtics have been so ineffective at TD Garden, yet marginally successful away from it.
“It’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer to that question,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “It’s certainly not the atmosphere. The atmosphere has been great. Of all the atmospheres I’ve been in in the NBA — and I haven’t been here very long — this is by far my favorite with the passion and how loud the fans are.”
The Celtics are 4-6 on the road, tied with Miami, Houston, Charlotte, Golden State and Atlanta in road wins. Portland is first with seven, followed by San Antonio and Indiana with six apiece. Memphis has five road wins after Wednesday’s road victory over the Celtics.
It’s not exactly a championship-caliber road record for the Celtics, but it’s better than their record at home, where they are just 2-5. Among those losses is a 105-98 decision they dropped to Milwaukee after leading by 22 points. Jared Sullinger was left wondering what has happened to the Celtics’ home-court advantage after yet another home loss on Wednesday.
“We have an away home-court advantage, if that makes any sense,” Sullinger said. “But we’ve got to win more at home. That’s what’s going to get us into the playoffs, winning on the road and constantly battling at home. We let up in the one game I can think of against the Milwaukee Bucks. We were up by 20-something and then they came back and won.”
The Celtics will have plenty of chances to improve that home record — or to make it even worse — very soon. Starting with Friday’s game against Cleveland, the Celtics play 11 of their next 16 games at TD Garden. The first handful of those, against the Cavs, Bucks and Nuggets, are conceivably winnable. After a matchup with the Timberwolves on Dec. 16, the Celtics won’t face a probable playoff team until Atlanta comes to town on New Year’s Eve.
Before long, the Celtics might finally be able to boast about their home-court advantage again — or be scratching their heads even more at another string of ineptitude on the parquet.