One of Those Nights

1190922388It’s noteworthy, and probably even a good sign, that it took until early January for the Celtics to play an uninspired basketball game, but such was the case last night at the Garden. The shooting-challenged Bobcats shot a sizzling (for them) 48 percent and not even a thunderous Brian Scalabrine dunk (no, really) could get the C’s energized.

It happens. The Celtics seemed to take the loss in stride—besides James Posey, God love him—and if they were going to hit a lull, it was going to be now. Really all it did was allow the Globe’s Peter May to revert back to his old tired act and trot out some stale jokes.

The real test for the Celtics is this: With 19 games between now and the All-Star Break, and only a handful worth TIVOing (Portland, Toronto, at Orlando, Dallas, and San Antonio) , how do they maintain their energy?

In other words, how important is the top seed in the East? Our feeling is that it is very important if you’re talking about a 7-game series with the Pistons (which we are). But, and this is where Doc Rivers will earn his January-March salary, how do you balance a veteran roster with regular-season goals?

It’s not as riveting as a playoff series, but that’s what the next 19 games are all about.