The Boston Celtics limped into the All-Star break Wednesday night on the heels of a 119-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston is physically battered from mounting injuries and mentally bruised in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the longest of the Big Three era.
But here’s the biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s defeat: An inspired second half against Oklahoma City gave Boston reason to be inspired about the second half of the season.
“I just love the spirit of this team,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters after his charges rallied from a 27-point deficit to (improbably) make it a two-possession game with little more than three minutes to go. “I told them after the game, ‘If we play like [the Celtics did in the second half of the game] in the second half of the season — and healthy — it’s going to be tough to beat us.’”
If you turned your TV off at halftime — and, really, who could blame you? — you missed the latest gritty comeback effort by Boston. Yes, the same team that rallied from a 27-point hole to stun Orlando nearly did it again. The Celtics (15-17) ultimately came up short, but considering how bleak things looked in the first half, it was enough to give Boston something to hang its hat on going into the midseason break.