The Boston Celtics have inexplicably become one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NBA and have been suffering through a horrible run over the past few weeks. Even with last night’s blowout of Golden State the Celtics have lost 5 of 7 and 7 of their last 11. That’s not exactly how Boston fans expected the team to perform during the ‘stretch run’ after last year’s vintage gave the Toronto Raptors all they could handle before settling for second place in the East. The Celtics are now in ‘playoff limbo’ not good enough to run down the top teams in the East but (so far at least) not bad enough to sink into the teams ‘on the bubble’ like Miami, Charlotte, Orlando, Detroit and Brooklyn.
The win over the Warriors was impressive to be sure but that’s exactly the kind of high profile game a chemistry challenged but talented team *would* get up for. Now they face a brutal scheduling spot playing in the second of back to back games against a team that won’t provide the same degree of intrinsic motivation as did the defending NBA champions. After what has seemed like forever it looks like the Sacramento Kings are heading in the right direction. They’re still not much on the road (12-18 SU) but have been more than solid at home where they’re 20-13 SU/22-11 ATS. They’ve also made a habit of ambushing Eastern Conference teams who take them lightly going 15-7 SU/ATS in non-conference affairs. Overall, the Kings have covered 9 of their last 14 games.
The second of back to back games has not been a good spot for the Celtics this year (4-6 SU/3-7 ATS) and particularly when the back to back games are on the road (1-2 SU/0-3 ATS). As a road favorite, they’re 6-13-1 ATS but the Kings could very well be chalk by gametime (the game is currently a ‘Pick’). Sacto has been nasty in the favorite role overall this year (15-2 SU/13-4 ATS) and particularly at home (10-1 SU/8-3 ATS).
Even with the victory over Golden State there’s nothing to validate the theory that Boston’s problems are in the rear view mirror. That makes a tough spot potentially even worse. The Kings last played on Sunday and will be well rested. Boston has the LA Lakers on deck which is once again the sort of high profile game they might show up for even if the dismal form of the purple and gold puts a damper on the intensity. This is a classic ‘sandwich spot’ for Boston make worse by them feeling ‘fat and happy’ about beating the defending champs. Sacramento brings a chemistry challenged Celtics team back to reality.