It’s been a tough season so far for the entirety of the NBA, and the Celtics have been hit hard with Covid throughout. Through wins and losses, fans just couldn’t make sense of what the Celtics were. Were they a playoff team, were they a play-in team? Boston was incredibly inconsistent and only now are we starting to get a better idea of who this team truly is.
The Celtics have jumped to 10th in offensive rating and 13th in defensive rating. Their net rating this month has ranked number one in the league at plus 8.6 as well. The second most obvious reason for the Celtics’ success as of late has been Tatum’s scoring output. Throughout the last 5 games before the loss to Chicago, Tatum has averaged 34.2 PPG and 8.8 RPG off of 54.8% from the field, 50% from three, and 90.5% from the line. Another key contributor to their streak was Kemba Walker. His three-point shot has yet to return to full strength, but he has encompassed his role as a facilitator for this team, supporting Tatum, Brown, and Fournier when he returns. Walker’s FG% at the rim has been fantastic this season (77.8%) and has even improved in the last month. Walker’s assists have increased, and his turnovers have decreased, so that is good news to any Celtic fan out there. One last point to add, over that streak, the Celtics were missing both Evan Fournier and Robert Williams, both key rotational players when healthy. When they’re eligible to play, it will completely change the appearance of this team come playoffs.
I stated above that the Celtics have been quite inconsistent throughout the season, so that gives anyone a reason to be uncertain regarding Boston in the future. Despite the success, the Celtics haven’t been able to show that they can beat legitimate teams in the East. The Celtics have defeated teams such as the Timberwolves and Rockets which, mind you, isn’t exactly a difficult task for a team of this caliber. However, they allowed the Sixers to sweep the season series between the two teams and have only beaten teams such as the Lakers because of injuries. Reverting to the inconsistency, the Celtics crumpled the Nuggets and have found ways to contain stars around the league such as Steph Curry from carrying their team to a victory.
Fresh off of a 6 game winning streak, how did the Celtics lose to the Bulls? Well, it started with the absence of Evan Fournier, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Kemba Walker. This left the offense struggling for most of the game. Pure effort was a predicament for the Celtics, as they allowed 18 second-chance points, 9 offensive rebounds, and 15 turnovers. The Bulls capitalized on those turnovers, scoring 16 points. In comparison, the Celtics had four second-chance points, three offensive rebounds, and 7 points off turnovers. Jayson Tatum may have had a triple-double, but his inefficiencies from the field (3/17) might have cost the team a win. The true test for the Celtics is coming up this Thursday and Friday, as they play a back-to-back against the Suns and Nets. How they fare against these two teams will give us a better idea of how to properly evaluate this team progressing towards the playoffs.
Go Bulls!!!! Great analysis tho. I think this team has the potential to make the ECF.
Only if fully healthy.