BOSTON — The Boston Celtics won’t have the luxury of kicking back and relaxing ahead of the NBA playoffs.
Aside from trying to nix their own lingering issues, the Celtics will find themselves in a handful of high-leverage contests as the regular season winds down. Boston on Friday will battle the Indiana Pacers, who currently own a one-game lead over the C’s for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. From there, the Celtics will play their regular-season finale with the Pacers in addition to matchups with the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat (twice) and Orlando Magic, who currently are entrenched in a three-team battle for the last two playoff spots in the East.
While this stretch undoubtedly will be a grind for the C’s, head coach Brad Stevens believes it only will benefit his team come playoff time.
“I like the fact that six of our last seven games are against teams who are literally fighting for the playoffs,” Stevens said Friday. “Whether it’s us and Indiana fighting to play at home or Brooklyn, Miami a couple times, Orlando. Those teams are fighting just to be in. There’s gonna be a lot of desperation in those games and that really prepares you.”
The Celtics will have their work cut out for them to put together a winning record over this seven-game span. But if they manage to take care of business, it surely will inspire confidence for a team that’s desperately in need of a spark.