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Boston has had difficulty finding their rhythm in the early weeks of the regular season, but two Celtics legends aren't worried about it.
Paul Pierce, who has been with Boston for 19 seasons, remains a beloved fan favorite and exudes passion for the game. He's also widely renowned as "The Truth."
Boston hasn't exactly been on its best behavior of late, with a 7-6 record since the All-Star break. They're in an unpredictable season that may result in another disappointing regular season, but Paul Pierce isn't yet ready to despair.
He's even been trying to motivate the team. Before Tuesday night's game against Sacramento, the Celtics great joined Eddie House to discuss why he believes Boston will break out of its slump and beat the Kings on Wednesday.
Boston's NBA title odds have taken a slight hit, but they still have plenty of time to get back on track and prove their worth in the playoffs. They still have an excellent chance at finishing with an impressive number of wins, as six of their remaining nine games are against teams ranked ninth or lower in their conference.
At some point during his career, Pierce has guided the Boston Celtics to multiple playoff runs and earned himself a place as an NBA All-Star - earning his first appearance in 2006. Additionally, he's one of only three players in league history to score over 20,000 points with just his teammates - Larry Bird and John Havlicek being the other two.
He's one of the most consistent and efficient scorers in soccer history, boasting an incredible 13-game streak of 30-point games between February 4 and March 12. And he has never been accused of playing it safe.
As previously noted, the Celtics haven't been as dominant in the second half of the season as they once were. In fact, Boston has been averaging less than four seconds per possession over its past six games, ranking 18th overall.
However, if they can stay healthy and find their rhythm on the road, the Celtics could be back in the postseason again. With plenty of chances to win close games away from home, that could give them an edge going into Sunday's final against Los Angeles.
Though the Lakers haven't exactly been at their best away from home court in this postseason, they still have three wins out of their last four games in the series. Despite those struggles, Jackson remains confident about their ability to beat Boston on the road; just that they must do so with more ferocity than what they showed in the second round.
Paul Pierce isn't concerned with Boston's inconsistency at this stage of the season. He understands that it's part of being human, and no team can expect to win 60+ games without experiencing some setbacks along the way.
He still believes this year's Celtics team can win a title, and he wants his players to get back on the same page quickly. That means understanding when they're at their peak performance level and how they can sustain that throughout the regular season and into May.
As previously noted, the Celtics have been inconsistent this season, leaving many fans frustrated with their club's lack of progress and inability to wrap up games. Through five games of the year, however, Boston went 8-4 and it appeared as though this group may finally start clicking in earnest.
After four wins in a row, they've lost six of their last nine games. Additionally, they are having difficulty closing out teams they are leading by double digits.
Be it due to fatigue or the Celtics simply not playing their best basketball, this team has had difficulty closing games out recently.
On Monday night, they gave Cleveland Cavaliers a spirited effort but ultimately fell short in overtime. Regardless of the outcome, it serves as another reminder that this group needs to play better defense - particularly against teams which have been giving up an abundance of 3-pointers lately.
One thing this team can do to make things easier for themselves when they take the floor, particularly in terms of scoring. They need to be more accurate from beyond the arc and shoot better from the free-throw line.
For their final push in May, they must improve in all aspects of play. That includes cutting down on turnovers, rebounding the basketball better and playing with greater energy than they have recently.
Boston has been plagued with injuries for much of the season, save for a few games in early February. But they appear to be recovering healthily and winning games again. Although they lost two players over the past week, their win total hasn't suffered and coach Doc Rivers doesn't believe Boston is at risk of missing out on playoffs altogether.
They are getting healthier and playing better basketball as the regular season draws to a close. Boston still has two important battles left - against Milwaukee and Philadelphia - to go up at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. A strong finish could pave the way for success in next year's postseason as they look for another victory to cap off an incredible year.
Even if they do advance a few spots, the Celtics still want to remain healthy heading into this year's playoffs. That is why Rivers has avoided adding any extra strain on his roster and is focused on keeping everyone healthy.
With the exception of Rondo, who has played sparingly since the NBA All-Star break, most Boston players have remained healthy. This has allowed the Celtics to build around their big three - Paul Pierce, Garnett and Rajon Rondo - while keeping younger players like Avery Bradley and Jason Terry active on the court.
Boston may not be hitting all their shots, but they are still contributing significantly to the team. On average, Boston is scoring 109 points per game - 10 more than the NBA average!
In fact, they're the only team in the NBA to average more than 105 points per game during April - an amazing accomplishment considering they've only played nine of their 18 games so far this month.
They've played just six of their last nine games away from home, meaning they must rely on home court advantage to get them through this stretch.
Boston Celtics have done much better than expected during the regular season, going 27-27 since Christmas and dropping seven of their last 10 games. But they boast a veteran team with the same starting five that won the NBA title two years ago, plus some talented defensive players, including Marcus Smart who can force turnovers. It has been an encouraging journey for this veteran squad.
Throughout their winning streak, the Celtics have been better on defense than all but one of NBA's top 15 teams. They are allowing just 94.2 points per game this season - the second lowest total in the league.
They possess the talent to compete with anyone on their court and they're a veteran team that has made three consecutive playoff appearances. Their experience will serve them well during the playoffs.
Paul Pierce, who has been instrumental in the Celtics' success this season, isn't concerned about their inconsistency. He doesn't expect it will slow the team down in the playoffs but neither does he want it to get to him personally.
He's a major reason the Celtics are on their way to the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up in Los Angeles, he sneaked into the Forum to watch his favorite team when they played there; so it's important for him to represent his beloved city while being there representing himself.
On Day 2 of their Game 2 victory over the Lakers, Pierce scored 14 points and hit two clutch free throws to give Boston a commanding lead. Additionally, he blocked Sasha Vujacic's 3-point attempt for another point guard role - leading the Celtics in scoring with a game-high 20 points. It's one major reason why Boston leads 2-0 in this best-of-seven NBA finals series against Los Angeles.
After an impressive start to the season, Boston experienced a string of poor performances in February and March that put them on track for an 8-23 record. However, they were able to regain some steam in April with a 12-4 run to close out the year.
The Celtics have a chance to build some momentum before the playoffs start, as they have five home games over the next seven weeks. History suggests hot teams tend to do better in playoff series and it appears the Celtics could take advantage of this trend.