Any time I'm watching a game and the team rides a hot streak to come back from way down, I always wonder how much is left in the tank for the rest of the game. If you peak too early, you might end up down when the buzzer sounds. In the context of a regular season, this could be applied to where the Celtics are right now. We're the highest we've been in the rankings and standings that we've been all year. Can we maintain? Can we finish out strong or are we in for a letdown?
If we are indeed peaking now, it is better than peaking in December (looking over at Cleveland). Riding a hot streak down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs is a very, very good thing. Winning breeds winning.
However, there is little reason to believe that we can keep up this break-neck pace right on through to the end. We're not going to win 88% of our games the rest of the way. We'll drop some tough games, we'll slip up against teams we shouldn't, and we might even be humbled once or twice. I don't buy that this is necessarily a good thing. We've certainly had our share of losses this year, so there isn't much need to remind this team how much it hates losing. However, the team will grow and know that it cannot let up for one minute in this league. I just hope the let down isn't too severe.
What I hope happens is a plateau of sorts. In other words, maintaining a hot enough run to win more games than we lose and finish out the year strong. To accomplish this, we'll need to keep working, and that's Doc's primary challenge.
We need to keep working on winning close games and focusing on defense and rebounding. We need to scout teams and implement changes mid-game to prepare for the playoff atmosphere. We need to keep putting away teams that we should be beating and playing up to the teams that have been ahead of us all year.
I'm just as excited as anyone with our new habit of winning. But there is plenty of work left to do. It's a marathon, not a sprint.