Celtics projecting confidence as losses pile up

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After dropping their fourth game in a row -- losing 115-96 to the San Antonio Spurs at TD Garden on Sunday night -- Boston is now two full games behind the Indiana Pacers for home court in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and remains mired in the same cycle of inconsistency that has dogged the Celtics all season long.

Rather than being concerned about it, though, the Celtics remain convinced -- or, at minimum, are projecting an air of confidence -- that, when the playoffs begin, they will be just fine.

"We got a lot of guys back, and we're all trying to figure out exactly what everybody's favorite things to do and what spots that everybody excels at and make sure we get everybody in the right position," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "We're still fooling with it. But I see great progress, and I'm excited, I'm ecstatic, and I'm happy with what we're doing.

"Yeah, we've been losing, and it's been frustrating, but that's the beauty of this game. We get to go play another one and we get another chance to go out there and work on things we need to work on."china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It'd be one thing if that was the attitude permeating Boston's locker room in October. Even in January. But it's now the last week of March; the start of the playoffs is less than three weeks away. Celtics coach Brad Stevens took almost 20 minutes to leave the locker room postgame, and it wasn't opened for 40.4

For months, the Celtics have been carrying themselves with a mindset similar to that of the Golden State Warriors, in that the regular season is nothing more than a meaningless 82-game tuneup for the postseason.

The difference is that Golden State has four future Hall of Famers in its starting lineup, and is coming off four straight NBA Finals appearances and three championships in the past four seasons. Boston, meanwhile, has only one player on its roster -- Al Horford -- who was even in the NBA the last time the Celtics made the NBA Finals.

Of course, Boston has another player -- Kyrie Irving -- who has plenty of postseason experience, including hitting one of the biggest shots in NBA history to win the 2016 NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers over those Warriors. And, as he has for months now, Irving reiterated after Sunday's game that these games have no meaning to him.

"Oh, it's not hard," Irving said, when asked if it is hard to remain patient through the team's recent struggles. "I'm used to gearing up for something bigger than myself around this time, and what it takes, and I have to do a better job of communicating that to my teammates and being a better listener and kind of figuring out how to best communicate with those guys that nfl nike jerseys from china

"At this point of the season, I'm on the VersaClimber, I'm on the treadmill, I'm getting ready to play 40-plus minutes and getting ready for the wars and battles. At the end of the season, it's just practice time. You don't feel right about your jump shot, you don't feel right about the team. ... We're still developing as a team.

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