The Celtics aren't really as bad as you now might think (or hope)

The Boston Celtics have lost 8 straight games, falling all the way down to the 5th worst record in the league.  ESPN's lottery machine now has them more often than not grabbing Julius Randle or Dante Exum with the #5 pick in the draft, which is markedly better than who they would've likely ended up with when it debuted last Thursday.

Exactly 4 weeks ago tonight the C's knocked off the Timberwolves at home to improve to 12-14, good enough for first place in the Atlantic Division.  As we have now clearly found out, Boston wasn't really that good.  But, chances are they're also not as bad as their current 13-25 might indicate.  The extended losing streak is in large part due to a murderous 5 game west coast trip, in which they visited 4 of the top 7 teams in the NBA.  If you look back at Boston's last three games, they've actually been playing some pretty good basketball.

Last Wednesday against the Clippers (26-13) the Celtics trailed by just 4 points with 19 seconds remaining, and had a chance to get even closer when Jerryd Bayless missed on an off balance drive to the basket.

At Golden State (25-14) on Friday night it took a spectacular jumper from Stephen Curry (followed by Jeff Green losing the ball and Gerald Wallace missing a 3 at the buzzer for the win) to help the Warriors eek by Boston 99-97.

And in Portland Saturday (the second night of back to backs) the Celtics trailed by just 1 a minute into the 4th quarter, and ended up losing by a very respectable 8 points to the 28-9 Blazers.

Over the three game stretch Kris Humphries has performed quite well in his new starting roll, averaging 10.7 points and 10 rebounds.  Surprisingly Jeff Green has put up 10 boards per game as well, to go along with 18.3 points.  Even Jerryd Bayless is showing signs of life, finally shooting over 50% (6-10 for 12 points and 6 assists) against the Blazers.

Boston hosts the 24-14 Houston Rockets tonight in a game nobody expects the Celtics to win.  But the way they've been playing of late it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they did.  It's definitely very possible the C's will finish the year among the bottom 5 in the standings, but I wouldn't count on it.  It's a long up and down season, and this is just one of the low points.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on twitter @LucidSportsFan