BOSTON (CBS) - With only 17 games remaining in the regular season, the Boston Celtics find themselves only a half game back for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe joined Rich Shertenlieb and Trenni Kusnierek on Toucher & Rich to talk some C's on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
"You've got to start thinking that this team is going to compete for the playoffs until the end of the season. This is kind of the time that you'd thought they might fall, and they're still in there," said Washburn.
Ever since the 110-79 blowout loss to Cleveland on March 3, the C's have caught fire, winning six of their last seven games, including a current four-game win streak. Boston has stayed alive in dramatic fashion, winning these last six contests all by 10 points or less.
After forward Jared Sullinger went down with a season-ending foot injury February 22, the lack of size in the front court appeared to be Boston's Achilles heel looking towards the postseason.
"They're just defending a lot better than they have. They don't have that rim protector, but they're using their bodies, they're using their physical girth to provide resistance and frustrate guys," said Washburn.
Since Sullinger went down, the C's have won nine out of 12 games. The Celtics have responded to injuries and newcomer Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired from Phoenix via trade on February 19. Washburn spoke about the job Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has done to stay competitive while revamping the roster on the fly.
"This team was an old team four or five years ago, and now they're very young. It's a Disney show out there. All these kids are so young. You don't know who they are and they're coming out of nowhere and helping out," said Washburn.
Should the Celtics make the playoffs, a daunting first-round matchup with the likes of Atlanta or Cleveland would most likely ship Brad Stevens' squad back to Boston. The future, however, remains bright for the men in green under Stevens, who have remained competitive all year despite a lack of experience and talent.
"I think guys embrace the fact that he's honest with them. There's no politics here," said Washburn.
The Celtics return to the court Monday night to host the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 p.m.
Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Celtics season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell begins 30 minutes prior to every game! Occasionally a scheduling conflict will arise, in which case the Celtics can be heard on our sister station 100.7 WZLX.
for more features.