Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge may still insist that it's early in the season, and it is, but that excuse can only cover up the Boston Celtics' subpar 4-8 record for so long. Eventually, the Celtics' record will have to stand on its own. No excuses.
With every game, they have been getting closer and closer. Now, 12 games into a 66 game season, it's quite possible they have reached that point. Their four wins came against the Pistons, the Wizards twice and the Nets. Not exactly quality teams. Of those four teams, they have a combined 7-34 record. That's a winning percentage of just 20 percent.
Nonetheless, getting into the playoffs in the NBA doesn't require beating quality teams. The Celtics will take wins any way they can get them against hapless opponents, such as the Toronto Raptors, who the C's host on Wednesday night.
Boston and Toronto have not met in the regular season, but played twice in the preseason. Without much surprise, the Celtics won both games, the first of which was a 76-75 win on a Greg Stiemsma game-winning layup. In the preseason finale, the Raptors lost 81-73 at TD Garden.
Since those preseason meetings, things haven't exactly gone the Celtics' way. Boston dropped three straight games against the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and New Orleans Hornets to open the season, only to rattle off four straight wins against the Pistons, Wizards and Nets. But once again, they fell upon tough times, dropping their next five games.
Times haven't been peachy for the Raptors, either. Toronto has captured just as many wins as Boston, but in a much less consistent fashion. After winning the season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors dropped three in a row. Then, two wins over the Knicks and Cavaliers again, followed by back-to-back losses before a win over the Timberwolves on Jan. 9. Ever since, it's been nothing but losses, with Toronto currently riding a five-game losing streak.
Which team will crack its medium-sized skid first? All signs would point to the Celtics, but as the first 12 games have already proven, nothing is a given for this team. Nevertheless, this is a game that Boston really needs to win.