Much has been made of the NBA's scheduling over the past year, particularly as coaches such as San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer have chosen to rest players on certain nights, especially when back-to-back games are in play, in an effort to keep their players fresh.
It's something commissioner Adam Silver will certainly look into, but maybe the Celtics don't want him to.
Boston has been uncommonly good on the second night of back-to-backs, a true rarity in the NBA. Combining travel and weary legs from playing the night before usually leads to a dip in performance the following evening.
Not for the Celtics apparently:
Celtics are now 8-1 on the second night of back-to-backs since Jan. 23. Three more b2bs to go this season.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 24, 2015
In that stretch, the Celtics have beaten Denver (twice), red-hot Utah (twice), Phoenix, Miami, Indiana and Brooklyn. The sole defeat came to Milwaukee on Feb. 7.
The last three of those games loom particularly large. The Celtics are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern playoff race, just 1.5 games behind the Heat. The Pacers are within a game of Boston, and the Nets are just 1.5 games out. Mailing in the second night of those back-to-backs could have been costly. Instead, they helped the Celtics climb the playoff ladder.
The Celtics are a very young team, which clearly helps in back-to-back situations. Players like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller don't have many NBA miles on their odometers, allowing them to quickly recover from playing major minutes the night before. And Brad Stevens is not the type to give up on any game - he pushes his team for victories regardless of the circumstances.
Of the Celtics' 12 remaining games, only three are on the second night of a back-to-back: at Charlotte on March 30, at Toronto on April 4 and at Milwaukee on April 15, the final day of the regular season. With so little room for error in the playoff race, the Celtics would be well-served to keep up their back-to-back successes.
Photo credit: Mary Altaffer, Associated PressDan Hoppen 3/24/2015 11:05:00 AM Tweet Edit