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Bet on the NBAAre the Celtics losing some of their magic this late in the season? Looking at last night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, it certainly seems that way. Boston gave up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, losing to the Bobcats 83-81, and dropped their second straight home game. In fact, the team has won only four of their last ten games overall.

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This has put them two games behind the red hot Chicago Bulls for the #1 spot in the Eastern Conference. And the Miami Heat are just half a game behind the Celtics now for the #2 spot. With 11 games left in the season, the Celtics have a chance to regain the top seed in the East, but it is looking doubtful that they will be able to catch up to the Bulls. At most, they may be able to hold the #2 seed.

The Celtics lost a game to the Bobcats in Charlotte in February, as well, and have struggled against some of the worst and most mediocre teams in the country. They have dropped games to the New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards. These losses came on the road, but the home loss to the Bobcats must be extremely discouraging.

Until this most recent loss, the Celtics had been 21-0 at home against Eastern Conference teams. But now they have dropped a home game to a team from the East, and have lost two at home in a row. And in both games, they entered the fourth quarter in the lead. In previous games when they went into the final quarter ahead, they were 23-0.

So is this some late-season fatigue? Or did the trade of Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green result in a loss of chemistry among the team? Or, finally, are the Celtics just playing it a little too safe leading into the playoffs? As Boston proved last year, a team doesn't need to have the best late-season record to go deep into the NBA Playoffs.

 

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