LOS ANGELES — They’ve teased themselves before, and as evidenced by their 16-16 road record, the Boston Celtics should continue wondering about their readiness away from home once the playoffs start.

But they may have turned a corner with Wednesday’s last-chance win over Sacramento on Gordon Hayward’s runner with two seconds left. Coupled with their blowout win over Golden State a night before, the Celtics slapped together consecutive road wins on the same trip for only the second time this season.

The last came at the start of the season, with two wins over three days in Oklahoma City and Detroit. The last time they won twice on the same trip, period, came in November, in Atlanta and New Orleans, spliced by a loss in Dallas.

The team now turns to Los Angeles, with games against the Lakers (Saturday) and Clippers (Monday) – teams they led by a respective 28 and 18 points before losing to both at home a week before the All-Star break.

This Warriors/Kings parlay is simply an encouraging start. Baby steps.

“Very important,” said Marcus Morris. “Trying to build something, man, trying to build some consistency going into the playoffs, as I said a few weeks ago, and we’re starting off well. Starting to come together, and it’s fun. Guys are enjoying each other, and we’re trying to rack up as many wins as possible.”

Last year’s team, with less, was a sturdy road playoff team, reaching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. This year’s team still needs some self-belief.

“Hopefully we can use these moments we’ve had the last couple of nights and build on them,” said Hayward. “It’s not going to get any easier, teams aren’t just going to let us come in and win; we’ve got to keep playing hard, keep playing the right way. I think it starts on the defensive end.”


It’s looking more and more like Hayward’s most recent dip was caused by the sprained right ankle he suffered during a workout with Semi Ojeleye during the All-Star break.

Prior to the injury, Hayward finished the first part of the season with 19 points against the Clippers, 26 in Philadelphia and 18 against Detroit.

He averaged 5.2 points over the first five post-All-Star break games.

Again apparently pain-free, Hayward has followed up with 30 points against the Warriors and 12 against the Kings, including the winner.

“He’s a heck of a player and we all believe in him. So I’ll probably stop talking about working his way back and just call him Gordon, and try to help move forward here,” said Coach Brad Stevens.


Morris also drew confidence from his 19-point performance against the Kings. He’s shot 24 of 67 over the first six games following the break, including 8 of 38 from 3-point range.

“Definitely, man,” said Morris. “It’s not even about making shots. I feel I impact the game by my presence.”

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