The Boston Celtics are looking to be a top playoff contender again this 2022-23 season, achieving a win of 19. So far, they are in top shape, losing only five times in 24 games. However, the bigger question is: will they be able to win it all this year?
Last season, the Celtics were the number two team in the east. They were also the best defensive team, allowing only 106.2 per game while facing strong opponents for the Eastern Conference title.
Jayson Tatum and his teammates have proven the phrase “the best offense is defense” real. They crushed heavy favorites like the Brooklyn Nets (which they swept in the first round of the playoffs) and gave the much-experienced Golden State Warriors a “run for their money” during the finals.
If you recall, Tatum and the Boston Celtics faced Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks in round two of the playoffs. Everybody expected the Bucks to be a finals contender and attempt a two-peat.
Unfortunately, Boston prevented it from happening, eliminating the Bucks in Game 7, 81-109.
They also did the same thing to the Miami Heat, the 2020 Eastern Conference champions, beating them in Game 7 with a four-point lead.
Going into the Finals, they have been eager to give Boston an NBA title since 2008. But Golden State proved to be the best offensive and defensive team. Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green punished Tatum and his team in the first three games, creating 55 turnovers.
Although they lost to the Warriors 4-2, the Boston Celtics are looking forward to returning to the Finals and winning an NBA title since 2008.
2022-23 is Their Best Single-Season
The Boston Celtics were able to bounce back from that Finals loss, opening the 2022-23 season with a three-game win streak before losing to the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. They began this season with an offensive rating of 120 while allowing only 111.5 points.
The performance of the team also showed improvement compared to last season. In the first 24 games they played, the Celtics were on a 9-game win streak, unlike in 2021, where they lost 11 times already.
Also, Tatum and Jaylen Brown are much more efficient in this new NBA season. Last year, they only averaged 26.9 and 23.6 points at 45.3% and 47.3% shooting.
According to basketball-reference.com, Tatum and Brown are currently on the NBA leaderboards in terms of points, averaging 30.7 (48.1%) and 27 pts (50.9%), respectively. The Celtics also have Al Horford (2nd), Grant Williams (3rd), and Derrick White (15th) on the player leaderboards when it comes to offensive rating.
What the Boston Celtics Need
It is also important to note that as the season progress, the Celtics must keep their players, especially their two stars, healthy.
For instance, point guard Marcus Smart missed their matchup against the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, December 4, due to a hip injury. Smart, if not healthy by the time the regular season reaches halfway, could affect the ball distribution and defense of the Celtics. His assists of 7.7 and 1.1 steals per game would be very much needed, especially in the playoffs.
Horford should also consider contributing more on the scoring side, especially with his 2021-22 and 2022-23 offenses stagnant at 10.2 points per game.
So far, they are doing pretty well. But If they want to beat whoever they will face in the playoffs, the Celtics need “all hands on deck.”
In the meantime, Boston will face the Bucks this coming December 26. Who do you think will win between the two?
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