http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/04-05/04-01-05/c01sp218.htmTickets go on sale for Boston Celtics home playoff games this Monday at 10 a.m. But the Celtics themselves have yet to stamp their own admission to the postseason, and their recent four-game skid hurts almost as much as those Ticketmaster service charges.
"The good news is, the last time I checked, we're still in first," said head coach Doc Rivers. "We have 11 games left and it's in our hands. If someone had told me at the start of the season that we'd be in this spot, I'd have raised my hand and said 'I'll take it.'"
But with just a three-game lead on the equally slumping Philadelphia 76ers, each one of those 11 remaining games becomes more crucial -- especially the two against the Sixers themselves.
"We just made this race a lot tighter, made it very interesting. It's a gut check for us," said Antoine Walker. "This is how you build team continuity; a little adversity sometimes helps, especially this late in the season, going into the playoffs."
A little over a week ago, the only adversity facing the Celtics or their fans was how to get ahold of a pair of what had suddenly become the hottest tickets in town. Following Walker's return to the Green on Feb. 24, the Celtics went on a four-game winning streak, lost on the final shot to the Timberwolves, and then ripped off another seven wins in a row.
Every step of the way, they looked like a team at least bound for the second round.
Then came D-Day in New York. A blowout loss to the Knicks was quickly dismissed as "one of those games." It was said that the Celts had been "playing over their heads" and that they "were due" a letdown game to slap them back to reality.
Instead, that one loss spiraled into four straight, turning the Green from contenders to pretenders faster than people could jump off their bandwagon, as it rolled head-first toward .500 once again.