OFFSEASON

Celtics face tough road in battle for first

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Celtics face tough road in battle for first

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

After Fridays loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics fell to 52-23 and third place in the Eastern Conference. With seven games left in the regular season, the Cs are three games behind the Chicago Bulls and a half-game back of the Miami Heat.

See what the road ahead holds for the Celtics and their opponents as they battle for the top spot in the East:

1. Chicago Bulls (55-20)Last 10 games: 8-2Current streak: 2 winsGames left: 7

Remainder of the season: In their final seven games, the Bulls face just two teams above .500 (Celtics and Magic). Four of their games are at home, where they are 32-5. But they play a pair of back-to-back games, homeaway and awayhome, before the end of the season.

What to watch:

April 2 vs. Toronto Raptors (20-54)
April 5 vs. Phoenix Suns (37-38)
April 7 vs. Boston Celtics (52-23)
April 8 @ Cleveland Cavaliers (15-60)
April 10 @ Orlando Magic (48-28)
April 12 @ New York Knicks (37-38)
April 13 vs. New Jersey Nets (23-52)

2. Miami Heat (53-23)Last 10 games: 8-2Current streak: 2 winsGames left: 6

Remainder of the season: While the Heat only see two teams above .500, they play back-to-back games against the Celtics and Hawks which are sure to be heated fights for playoff positioning. They have three games left at home (28-10) and three on the road (25-13).

April 3 @ New Jersey Nets (23-52)
April 6 vs. Milwaukee Bucks (30-45)
April 8 vs. Charlotte Bobcats (32-43)
April 10 vs. Boston Celtics (52-23)
April 11 @ Atlanta Hawks (44-32)
April 13 @ Toronto Raptors (20-54)

3. Boston Celtics (52-23)Last 10 games: 5-5Current streak: 1 lossGames left: 7
Remainder of the season: In addition to facing the Bulls and Heat, the Celtics have tough matchups in store against the 76ers and Knicks, both trying to move up in the standings. They will play four games at TD Garden (29-8) and three on the road (23- 15). Four of their final seven opponents have sub-.500 records.

April 3 vs. Detroit Pistons (26-49)
April 5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers (40-36)
April 7 @ Chicago Bulls (55-20)
April 8 vs. Washington Wizards (19-56)
April 10 @ Miami Heat (53-23)
April 11 @ Washington Wizards (19-56)
April 13 vs. New York Knicks (37-38)

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

OFFSEASON

Tanguay: Celtics should steer clear of Al Horford

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Tanguay: Celtics should steer clear of Al Horford

The Celtics reportedly are taking a look at free agent Al Horford.

Ah, why?

Wait. Make that WHY?

If you're going with someone like Jaylen Brown, you don't pursue a Grade B free agent like Horford. Or even think about making a deal for Kevin Love. When the Celtics decided not to deal the third pick for an Okafor, Noel or Butler, and instead went for a player who'll need several years to fully develop, the course for this offseason was set.

Now, if the Celtics wow the daylights out of Kevin Durant and land him, Horford would be a nice addition for a less-than-max deal. But, despite my fanboy optimism in regard to a Durant signing, the chances are slim that KD will land in Boston.

I really liked Al Horford. Notice the use of the past tense. He's 30 years old and will get a max deal from somebody stupid enough to give him one. The guy averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season and went MIA for Games 3, 4 and 5 in the playoffs against Boston. He's on the downside of his career, and I'd rather the Celtics enter next season with the roster they have now than add Horford.

I feel the same way about Love. If your top draft pick has one year of college experience and needs to greatly improve his basketball skills -- hello there, Jaylen Brown -- why bother with Love?

Horford and Love would be pieces to add if Durant comes here. Period. And please don't tell me that adding both, or either, would make the Celtics more attractive to KD. Nope.

I feel the Celtics have made their bed. It's Kevin Durant or nothing at all.