USA TODAY Sports
The Celtics must really, really like home cooked meals.
Family, home cooked meals, familiar settings, familiar routines, supportive fans,... there are a lot of reasons why teams do better at home than on the road. However, it appears that the Celtics are really, really opposed to the road. Like, maybe hotel beds don't give them enough sleep. Or airline food is throwing off their diets.
Or perhaps they are the kind of team that has to have everything fall into place to find that winning edge and if anything throws them off their rhythm they have a hard time finding it again. I don't really know and I bet they wish they knew, because they are really terrible on the road. How terrible? Of all the playoff-bound teams, the Celtics have the worst road record.
Our home record is actually 3rd best in the Eastern Conference, but that road record just drags us down the standings. And the killer part is that a lot of those losses have come at the hands of completely beatable teams.
Boston is now 12-21 on the road this season and those losses include 1) two defeats to the league-worst Bobcats; 2) Wednesday's stumble to the Western Conference-worst Hornets and 3) five other defeats at the hands of sub-.500 non-playoff opponents (Detroit, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Cleveland, Portland).
Everyone is searching for answers, including and especially Doc.
"We messed the game up, our spirit. We thought we were going to win the game when we got the lead," Rivers told reporters. "You could see it. I told our guys at halftime [and] you could see it in the middle of the second quarter. We went from being a solid good-looking basketball team to showtime, and I believe in the basketball gods. I think when you mess up the game, the game messes you up, and I thought we deserved [to lose]. I really did."
So the new gameplan is to not anger the basketball gods. Got it.
Easier said than done though. This team has a real problem getting up for bad teams. Sometimes it is the stars that set a bad tone, other times it is the rest of the team standing around trusting the stars to take care of things. Regardless, the good news is that these lottery teams go away next month to prepare for the draft.
The Celtics should have no problem getting motivated for the playoffs. They do it every year. But will their season long wax and wane cost them too much in the seedings and put them at an additional disadvantage that they really don't need?
Ironically, the bad road record looks like it might cost them the home court advantage that they could really use in the first round. So in short, they'll have to win on the road in the playoffs because they couldn't win on the road against lottery teams.