By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
As enjoyable as Tuesday's dominating road win over the Warriors was for the Celtics (I've found that my thirst for Golden State misery has become akin to LeBron Losing and the Steelers being a nightmare), I found myself preemptively annoyed.
Jaylen Brown backed up his 'toxic' talk and dunked on the Warriors, and Gordon Hayward looked borderline better than he was with the Utah Jazz, but I was already, actually bothered by the impending letdown against the Sacramento Kings late Wednesday night. I was already prepared for Hayward's upcoming 1-for-5 shooting night, low-percentage looks galore the second the C's found themselves trailing, and another round of dramatic postgame questions and answers.
I mean, this has sort of been this team's brand this season, no? Every time you think you have a read on this team, or think that they've finally righted the ship, they go through another tailspin of sorts that sets them back in more ways than one.
In fact, last night marked the third time that the C's have won the first leg of a back-to-back this season. They failed to complete the back-to-back sweep in their two previous tries, so this is by definition an unfortunate trend for this group.
Lose tonight and we're not falling for the Green's next big win on the schedule -- be it against the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, or two remaining head-to-heads with the Indiana Pacers -- but rather continuing to wait for the other shoe to drop and prevent this team from being the serious threat we all
penciled Sharpie'd them in to be when camp opened six months ago.
It's why this game against the Kings just might be the most important game against the Kings in, well, just about ever.
Even with last night's victory, the Celtics remained locked in the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, two and a half games behind the No. 4 seed Philadelphia 76ers with 17 games to go. The Celtics' chances of catching the No. 1 seed Bucks (9.5 games ahead of the C's) and No. 2 seed Raptors (seven games ahead of Boston) are pretty much done, but Boston's hopes of pushing the Sixers down and perhaps challenging for the No. 3 seed (the Celts are three games behind the Pacers there) are still alive.
But a push to challenge those teams is absolutely going to require the Celtics to ride that Oracle Momentum.
It's really as simple as that.
"We haven't played well together for a lot of the year, and that hasn't been something that our guys have ran away from," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before Tuesday's game against the Warriors. "They talk about it pretty openly and we got however many games left to try to right that because our window of opportunity after the regular season, if we are fortunate enough to compete in the playoffs, it's going to be very small if we are not really well connected by then."
This trip should give the Celtics the opportunity to truly connect, as this trip will give them a head-to-head with the 32-31 Kings tonight, a chance at revenge against the sputtering Lakers, and then a matchup with a red-hot Clippers team.
Win those games -- or at least look like the same team that chased the Warriors out of their own building en route to the worst loss in the Steve Kerr Era -- and we're finally, finally going to have to get on board and leave our worries at home, right?