The West Coast Trip - Toughness Must Prevail

Thanks to the return of Kendrick Perkins we are feeling pretty good after last night's thrashing of the lowly Cavs. But I have to be honest this road trip because of the travel, the depth situation and the different styles of opponents makes me a bit nervous. When you look at the opponents Portland, Phoenix, LA Lakers and Sacramento it is not one of those trips that makes you say to yourself, "damn, we have to play those four in a row on the road." What it is says to me though is that we are playing four completely different teams in a short amount of time with travel and without the full arsenal of weapons. Of course having Perkins back is great, but until Shaq is back we will not get a true taste of what it means to have two quality starting centers sharing the minutes next to KG upfront.

Portland is a banged up desperate team that is going to play with that nothing to lose attitude that so many have brought to the table in similar situations over the last three plus seasons. The Celtics must come into Portland and bury them to set the tone as the next night with travel and a time zone change they are in Phoenix. The Suns have climbed back into the western conference playoff race as they are averaging almost 106 ppg which is third in the NBA. On the other hand they are allowing almost 108 which has them at 29th. The challenge for the Celtics will be to slow them down after taking control of the game early and often inside the paint. Perkins will help, but his minutes will stay between 16-18 according to Doc Rivers which means Semi Erden and the small ball lineup of KG and Davis at the 4 & 5 spots or at times Pierce at the 4 which we have seen in the past. Whatever lineup combo's Doc chooses to go to in Portland or Phoenix you can bet he will have his own special plan of attack for Sunday in LA, which I'll save for a separate post as my blood is now boiling despite it being one of the worst winter days imaginable today.

Finishing off in Sacramento presents the challenge of facing off against a much younger less experienced team that will most likely view this game as one of their biggest on the home schedule of the season.
Tyreke Evans, Demarcus Cousins and Carl Landry will be hungry, it will of course be up to the Celtics as usual to dictate the tempo and take the Kings out of it early in Sac Town.

Bottom line like we have grown accustomed to is that the Celtics toughness puts them in a unique position to win each and every night. Toughness is what it takes to get it done on the road, both mentally and physically, the green are going to once again remind the league why the run for Banner 18 is very real and happening in front of our eyes.

I'm expecting a 4-0 road trip, how exactly we get those four wins is why we all watch.
Thank goodness for NBA League Pass and the return of Big Perk.