The Celtics are approaching their much anticipated rematch of last summer's NBA Finals. The Green also gets to seek revenge against Dallas, who beat them back in November. There's no doubt that everyone is circling these dates on their calendars, but there happens to be four other less glamorous games sprinkled in between.
A win in L.A. doesn't look as good if you lose in Sacramento, and a win in the Garden against Dirk won't make up for a home loss against... whoever the face is of The Cleveland Cavaliers.
Over the past 3 seasons Boston has had excellent starts only to slip against lesser opponents in the second half. Last year The C's had a Christmas Day win over Orlando without Paul Pierce, it was one of the highlights of the year. Rajon Rondo grabbed 13 rebounds. Tony Allen started at the small forward and played great on both ends of the floor. Perk, KG, and Sheed gave Dwight Howard fits as they held him to only 5 points... but they would follow it up with three straight losses on the road against The Clippers, Warriors, and Suns.
Doc has stated that he would like have the best record in the league, not if it means risking injury to his players, but it is a goal he has set. As of right now Boston is 33-10 with only San Antonio having a better record (37-7). Tim Duncan and The Spurs are about to go off on their annual insane rodeo road trip (11 of the next 12.), and that means a lot of consecutive road games for another team that's long in the tooth. For The Celtics it means no more performances like they had in D.C. against The Wizards. They can't look over bad teams, they can't only play for three quarters, and they absolutely have to win the ones they're supposed to.
Now obviously Boston is riddled with injuries. Right now they're missing Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O'Neal, and Delonte West. By my calculations that's about 20 feet of center, and a starting caliber combo guard who could be running the second unit. Even with all those pieces out, Boston is putting FOUR All-Star caliber players out on the court. There have been very few losses where you can say Boston brought it all and were turned away. To put it plainly... when Boston is focused they've come out with a win, regardless of injuries.