It was a rare occurrence last night in A-Town as A) the Celtics suffered back-to-back losses, and B) did so last night with their full complement of starters.

Boston's big five have been nearly unbeatable this season when playing as a unit, but five days in Atlanta seemed to be exactly what this team did not need.

Granted, they're the only team in the NBA with a postseason spot on lock, having clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference before any other team in either conference locked up a postseason spot. So, they've certainly earned the right to treat these final regular season games as glorified scrimmages, and if you watched the double dip against the Hawks, that's what it looked like.

Joe Mazzulla even admitted to tinkering with the defense in late-game situations to see how it would work.

With nine games remaining in the season, it's about figuring out what works best heading into the playoffs and how to best use Boston's glut of talent.

Speaking of that glut, this is a squad that could dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come, if it can be kept together.

Brown is tied down, Tatum is no worry, then after that, it's really a choice of two players out of three.

With Horford's contract (likely) coming off the books at the end of this season, and the NBA's cap structure which allows teams to exceed the cap to retain their own talent, the Celtics should be in a position to extend two of Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, should they so choose.

Porzingis, who has played 51 games and has averaged 20.3ppg/7.3rpg/1.9bpg, is under contract for the 2025-26 season at the cool price of $36 million. Holiday is in the final year of his deal, but has expressed an interest to re-sign with the C's, and the same can be said about White, who will be owed a big time payday once he hits the market (currently making $18.8 million - which sounds like a lot, but in the NBA that's like a solid sixth or seventh man money).

Holiday is currently in his age 34 season, White in his age 29 season and Porzingis in his age 28 year.

The C's are 19-3 (.863) without Porzingis, 4-1 (.800) without Holiday and 3-3 (.500) without White this season.

Which two are most important for the Celtics to lock up in an attempt to own the East for years to come?

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