Rajon Rondo will miss the playoffs for just the second time in his 8 year career. The Celtics have 12 games remaining, and they had a four game break after facing Brooklyn last Friday night. The Celtics will head back to action Wednesday night, as they take on the Atlantic Division leaders the Toronto Raptors in Boston. On Friday night the Celtics will go north of the border to play the Raptors again.
The Celtics will endure another set of back-to-back games against the same team. The Celtics will see the Bulls in Boston this Sunday. Then the Celtics will play the Bulls the following night in Chicago. The Celtics described it like a playoff series, but it doesn't feel that way to me at least.
“I think it will be a good thing for our team to have to play against a team, learn through film and learn through walk-through and go back and play against them again,” Brad Stevens said on Tuesday. “Two very good teams playing at a very good level. Obviously (they are) the three- and four- seeds in the East right now.”
Toronto is currently slated in as the third seed in the East, just percentage points ahead of fourth-seeded Chicago. Both teams are destined for the playoffs and are currently fighting for home court advantage. The Celtics are unlikely to be participating in the playoffs, so they’re viewing these next four games as their taste of the postseason.
“You kind of take it like a playoff game,” Celtics captain Rajon Rondo said. “You play the team once. Obviously there isn’t much to be changed in a couple of days. You try to do a better job of executing the offense and defensive schemes. We’ll play Toronto and then we’ll have one day to rest and then we’ll go back at it again on the road.”
Jared Sullinger agreed with Rondo’s thought process while also noting that Toronto will have a lot on the line during both games.
“Definitely,” Sullinger said of the playoff-series mindset, “because every game is an adjustment in the playoffs… We know we’ve got to make adjustments when we play a team back-to-back and this is a team that wants to win the Atlantic Division, so it’s going to be a scrappy game.”
I'm curious to see how well the Celtics make adjustments from game to game. I don't take much stock into it if he doesn't make big changes, but it will be nice to see what he can do.