BOSTON – For the past couple of weeks, much of the talk surrounding the Boston Celtics has centered on their quest for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
And it will only intensify tonight when the Celtics (47-34) host the Miami Heat (48-33) in the regular season finale that will likely decide who will have the fourth seed and with it, home court advantage in the first round.
For Boston to have the kind of postseason run they’re aiming towards, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is well aware of the need to play well regardless of location.
“I’m not concerning myself with things I can’t control,” Stevens said. “No matter what, in the playoffs you can’t be a dud on the road and expect to win a playoff series. You can’t be good or inconsistent at home and expect to win a series. You have to play well in the games you have.”
While that’s true, there’s no question the Celtics will be disappointed if they have to start the postseason on the road.
“It’s important. We worked so hard. We put a great year together,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “We put ourselves in position to write our own script. We just want to finish the right way, play the right way and go out knowing we did it the way we wanted to go out.”
That’s where things are a little tricky right now for the Celtics who come into the regular season finale against the Heat having lost their last two games.
Making matters worse, the two losses have come on the road at Atlanta and at home against Charlotte – two teams that Boston could potentially see this weekend, in addition to tonight’s Miami Heat team.
“We have to have a short memory and worry about the things we can control,” said Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas.
The Celtics have a certain level of concern due to their recent struggles, but have proven repeatedly this season that they can rise to the occasion and knock off any team, anywhere – ask the Golden State Warriors whose 54-game home winning streak was snapped by Boston on April 1.
“Our team, has bitter a taste as we may feel from (losing to Charlotte on Tuesday), has put ourselves in a great positon all year with their play,” Stevens said. “We’ll look forward to playing whoever we play, wherever we play when that time comes.”