The last two games for the Celtics is a microcosm of their 2012-13 season.
The first couple of months were a complete disaster (that's Tuesday's 24-point loss to the Bobcats). Since late January, though, the team has taken a 180-degree turn (that's Wednesday's 24-point win over the Raptors).
They currently stand at 35-29, 6th in the East, sandwiched in a tie with the Bulls and Hawks. They're 14.5 games out of first place, but nobody is playing for first place anymore. Boston is just four games away from the Knicks (38-24), who currently hold down the 3rd seed.
There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of weeks about where the Celtics should try to end up in the standings to avoid the Heat for as long as possible.
Some think that a loss like the one in Charlotte signals that the C's are purposely trying to avoid the 4th or 5th seed so as to not play the Heat in the second round.
Doc Rivers was asked on WEEI Thursday morning if he keeps up with his team's playoff seeding and potential matchups.
"No. I hear it, I hear the talk about it all the time but I don't give it much thought," Rivers said. "I know we're all close right now, with Brooklyn, Chicago, and Atlanta and Milwaukee. But at the end of the day guys you just have to go play and win, and everything will take care of itself."
Rivers knows there are pros and cons to playing the Heat in the second round or the championship round. Just like the Heat could be more banged up later in the postseason, so could the C's. Trying to pick and choose wins and losses in order to avoid them won't be the reason his team gets to where they ultimately want to get.
"It doesn't work. If you want to go somewhere you're going to have to beat somebody or someone," Rivers said. "So you just have to focus on being better and ready when the playoffs start."
Part of being ready for the playoffs is being healthy and rested. That's why Rivers chose to sit Paul Pierce on Tuesday night, and Kevin Garnett earlier in the year. He also says he plans to sit them and Jason Terry down the stretch. It's not to hold on to a specific playoff seed and avoid the Heat — it's to prepare for them.
With the way the Heat are playing, Boston will need those three guys - and more - at the top of their games.