2/02/2016 12:47:00 PM
The Celtics, at 27-22, have 33 games remaining on the schedule this season. In the month of February, they will play over one-third of them: 12. Here is a synopsis of their February schedule, which will be one of the most favorable ones of their season:
1. Knicks (away) - this will be the Celtics third game with the Knicks this season, having split the first two, including a 120-114 loss in New York three weeks ago. The Celtics are not as dominant on the road as they were earlier this season, but they are still over .500 at 13-12. The Knicks are slightly better at home at 14-11. Most recently, the two teams have been heading in opposite directions, with Boston at 7-3 in their last 10 and New York 3-7. It is hard to imagine the Celtics letting themselves lost two straight to the Knicks, who, while competitive, are the type of team a top three-or-four seed beats.
2. Pistons (home) - the first of three back-to-backs this month. The Celtics are 8-3 in the second of back-to-backs this season and the Pistons are 11-15 on the road. Between Detroit's road woes and Boston's success in these games, I predict a win for the Celtics.
3. Cavaliers (away) - this will not be easy. The Cavaliers have won five in a row, eight of their last 10 and are 19-3 at home. The Celtics will be playing with house money here, but they are likely to come up short.
4. Kings (home) - the Kings are 8-15 on the road and 11-7 against the Eastern Conference this season. The Celtics are 7-7 against the Western Conference and 19-6 against teams below .500, which the Kings are. Between Sacramento's struggles on the road and the Celtics success against teams under .500, Boston should get the win here.
5. Bucks (away) - the Bucks are 13-8 at home, but 8-18 against teams above .500. They are also trending in the wrong direction, having lost three in a row. The Celtics seem to win these games more often than not, but the Bucks are never an easy out in Milwaukee.
6. Clippers (home) - the Clippers are 15-5 against the Eastern Conference and 15-9 on the road, but will be playing the Celtics on the wrong night, as this will be the second of a back-to-back for Boston.
7. Jazz (away) - winners of three in a row, the Jazz are tied for the eighth seed in the West. They are a strong 15-10 at home, but 9-15 against teams above .500. This will be a tough one for the Celtics.
8. Nuggets (away) - the Nuggets are 8-19 against teams above .500 this season, but not an easy out in Denver where they are 10-15 this season. Still, at 19-30 overall, this is a team the Celtics should beat down the stretch.
9. Timberwolves (away) - this will be the second of a back-to-back for the Celtics and the Timberwolves are fading and fading fast. Minnesota is now 14-35 and 2-8 in their last 10. The Celtics, who are 19-6 against teams under .500, should get the win here.
10. Bucks (home) - another game with the Bucks, but this time in Boston. Milwaukee is 7-22 on the road this season. A game the Celtics must win.
11. Heat (home) - a potential pivotal battle for playoff seeding. The Heat struggle on the road (11-12) and with them currently on a four-game winning streak, it is likely they cool off by this game. I see the Celtics getting a big win in front of a rowdy crowd.
12. Jazz (home) - a rematch with the Jazz from earlier in the month, except this one is in Boston. Utah is 7-15 on the road, so this is another must win for the Celtics.
If the Celtics protect their home court and beat teams with a losing record, they will go 11-1 this month, with their lone loss against the Cavaliers. That is how favorable this schedule is. With that being said, anything worse than 9-3 this month should be viewed as a massive disappointment and lost opportunity.
Question for Readers: What do you predict the Celtics will do this month?
Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow Max Sandgrund on Twitter @SotoSpeakz
2/02/2016 12:47:00 PM