WALTHAM – Barring a miracle, the Celtics won't be playing in the playoffs this season, which isn't exactly breaking news. But this week they'll experience one element that the playoffs offer, as they'll face the same team in consecutive games over a few days.
First, the Celtics will play the Toronto Raptors twice in three days (Wednesday in Boston, Friday in Toronto) before playing Chicago twice in two days (Sunday in Boston, Monday in Chicago).
"You kind of take it like a playoff game," Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo said after practice here Tuesday. "If you play a game once, obviously there isn’t much you can change within a couple days. You just try to do a better job of executing your offensive and defensive schemes."
It made Celtics forward Jared Sullinger recall how Doc Rivers prepared the Celtics for their playoff matchup against the New York Knicks.
"The adjustments he made on the fly were just tremendous," Sullinger said. "We know we have to make adjustments [when we] play teams back-to-back. This is a team that wants to win the Atlantic Division, so this going to be a scrappy game.”
While Celtics coach Brad Stevens said it's "pretty unique" to play the same team multiple times over a period of a few days, he noted, "hopefully we’re to the point sooner rather than later that we’re playing a lot of them that really matter.
Said Stevens, "I think it will be a good thing for our team to have to play against a team, learn through film, learn through walkthrough and then have to go out and play against them again. Two very good teams playing at a very good level. Obviously the 3 and the 4 seeds in the East right now."