Enough. That seems to be the appropriate word to sum up the Celtics’ recent six-game road trip.
A 4-2 stretch was the minimum acceptable outcome, given they were facing two non-playoff teams and three others that are expected to be in the play-in tournament. They achieved that, but it certainly wasn’t in the anticipated manner.
The Kings were the one challenging team featured on Boston’s recent slate. Yet, that game had the largest margin of victory (23) by nine points (second-largest was 14 vs. Portland). With that matchup coming off the heels of a loss vs. Utah, the offensive outburst — against an uptempo team — makes the statement win less surprising.
What’s more surprising was Sacramento’s 109 points, which was the same total Boston churned out in that abomination of a loss vs. Houston earlier in the trip. When you look at the outcomes against Minnesota and Utah, four — if not five — of the games on this trip scream “playing to your opponent.” Not great to see going as the postseason draws nears.
That’s how series get extended, which leads to more room for error in the short or long term. Not something most teams can afford, especially the Celtics when you consider the late development from this recent road trip. The return of Time Lord.
Tuesday marked the first time Robert Williams played since March 3. During his absence, the Celtics went 4-4 and, as Justin Turpin noted following Boston’s latest win, they were out-rebounded 394-364 while he was sidelined.
Williams’ late-season injury in 2021-22 gave serious cause for concern. The Celtics managed it well and did more than survive, as much as they didn’t finish the job. However, Williams wasn’t able to be the same player night-to-night because of his injury. While he may have only played 21 minutes on Tuesday, it’s undeniable the impact he makes on both ends when healthy.
There are certainly things the players have to work through on their own, but the final game of the trip may have highlighted the most important task on the plate of Joe Mazzulla and his staff moving forward: managing Time Lord.