Stephen A. Smith reveals his one concern about Celtics as playoffs near


The Boston Celtics are in the middle of a slump that consists of three consecutive losses and four defeats in their last five games. In fact, since the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, the C's own a 6-5 record.

This mediocre stretch has dropped the Celtics to second place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are 2.5 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Bucks and just 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Philadelphia 76ers.

Boston also has blown double-digit second-half leads in each of their last three losses, including a Brooklyn Nets comeback from 28 down last Friday.

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Is it time to be concerned about the Celtics, especially in late-game clutch situations? Stephen Smith said Tuesday on ESPN's "First Take" that "I'm not really concerned about the Boston Celtics at all."

However, he did have one potential concern for the C's, and it's homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

"The only thing I'm concerned about is are you going to get the No. 1 seed so the road to the NBA Finals has to come through TD Garden in Boston," Smith said. "That's my concern. But this 5-5 record over the last 10 games, them having lost three straight, I'm really not concerned if you're telling me that those individuals are going to be healthy."

Homecourt advantage is definitely important in the NBA playoffs. The Celtics eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks at home in Game 7 of the second round last season. Boston also has a 20-12 home record this season, which is tied for the best in the East. 

Even though getting the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage is often crucial to playoff success, health is probably a more critical factor for this Celtics team.

When healthy, no team in the league has as much talent or depth than the C's, but starting center Robert Williams III has missed most of the season. They are a better team, especially defensively, when he's in the lineup. The Celtics have not had their preferred starting five healthy and on the court for very many games this season.

So, while finishing first in the East would be great for the Celtics, it cannot come at the expense of a healthy roster.


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