By Kurtis Kendall
The Boston Celtics have experienced an up and down 2018-19 season. After coming within one game of the NBA Finals last year, expectations were high for the young roster.
While a disappointing 10-10 start shocked many fans and even some players, the team has straightened the ship for a 25-9 record since. “Kyrie’s been fun to watch as of late,” said Fitchburg sophomore Ethan Decker, referring to the Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, “and they’re doing a lot better now than earlier in the season.”
The Celtics, however, are currently sitting at third place in the Eastern Conference, 5 games behind (GB) the top-seeded Raptors. With the basketball world initially projecting Boston to be the team to beat in the East this year, third place is still a far cry from where they are expected to be.
Despite a solid turnaround from their rough start, one prominent issue still stands out for Boston: playing on the road. The Celtics are an ugly 12-13 away from TD Garden this season. Their 13 losses are already as many losses as they had all of last season, when they actually had more road wins than victories at home. “I’m feeling good about the Celtics but I definitely have some reservations as well,” said Fitchburg State junior Keegan O’Donnell. O’Donnell cites the surplus of talent on the Celtics as something that has brought them trouble at times.
At TD Garden, the Celtics have been a different team, winning 12 of their last 13 at home, including a stretch of 10 in a row. Their 22-6 home record puts them in the upper echelon of the league. “The Celtics are a great team, emphasis on team,” continues O’Donnell. “But they seem to take their foot off the gas if they get any sort of lead, this results in their tendency to let other teams come back at the end of the quarter which undoes all their hard work.”
Boston can still achieve this year’s high aspirations if they can remedy this nagging issue and close out their games on the road on a more consistent basis. The team has ample opportunity to book their ticket to this year’s NBA Finals.