By: Brandon Silva
For a majority of the season, the Boston Celtics were sitting on the bubble of being a play-in team or not even getting the opportunity to do that. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are great individual players, but for some reason, they weren’t meshing well with the rest of the team for the majority of the season. I, along with everyone else, thought the Celtics for sure would be sellers at the deadline and this season would be lost. They did the exact opposite. They went out and acquired guard Derrick White from San Antonio. They held on to Marcus Smart, who was rumored to be the big piece that the Celtics finally decided to part ways with. Pairing White with Smart gives the Celtics one of the best defensive duos for the guard position in the league. Jaylen Brown believed in his team and thought that they would be able to turn it around just one game at a time. Well, he was right.
The Celtics are 5-1 since the all-star break and are playing like they are one of the best teams in the entire league. Two of those wins have come against Brooklyn and one against Memphis, so Boston has the capability to go head-to-head with the league’s best. Regardless of the Nets' recent struggles, these are two huge wins for the Celtics. Head Coach Ime Uodka has done an incredible job turning this season around for the Celtics. They are currently 39-27 and have climbed all the way up to the 5 seed in the east. The eastern conference has been incredible this year and there are 6-7 real threats that could come out on top. The Celtics are one of those who have recently been thrown into the mix. Only 5.5 games separate the top 6 teams in the east, so it will be a wild finish to see who will be seeded where in the playoffs. The Celtics are 22-8 in the new year averaging 111.5 points a game. They’re averaging 117 points per game post-all-star break. The Celtics are definitely on the right track and should be considered a scary team comes playoff time. I still think there are 4-5 teams (Heat, Sixers, Bucks, Nets, and maybe the Bulls) in the conference that I would pick over them to come out on top and head to the finals, but with that being said the Celtics are still a team I would not want to face come playoff time. With Tatum averaging 26.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists and Brown averaging 23.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.3 the duo form an elite pairing that has carried the Celtics to their recent hot stretches. As a Knicks fan, this truly does pain me to talk about how good the Celtics have been, especially because we were ahead of them earlier in the season. The Knicks season is long gone though and the Celtics are just beginning. The Celtics are a legit threat in the eastern conference and I could see them making another Eastern Conference Finals appearance at their ceiling. Will they go any further than this though and break their losing curse? The answer to that question is no simply because of how good the conference has become.