Celtics blossoming as championship contenders is a dream come true


Jason Tatum has shaken a shooting slump to become a reliable scorer and decision-maker.

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You probably remember it, even though now it seems like it happened during a different time and place, if not a different season altogether.

On Thursday, January 6 in New York, the Celtics broke a 25-point lead and lost to the Knicks, 108–105, on a north-prayer by RJ Barrett on a 3-pointer on the buzzer. Ivan Fournier was mostly ineffective during his partial 2020-21 season with Greeley Tribune, scoring 41 points as he stole the powers of Klay Thompson. They fell 18-21 and 10th in the Eastern Conference, behind the likes of the Knicks and Wizards.

It felt like a low point. But one could not say with certainty that it was The final point. There were already too many bottom-scraping candidates for the worse of the season to consider.

A lead of 19 points against the Bucks on Christmas Day.

A 4-for-42 tutorial-in-masonry from a 3-point area against the shear.

A torch in a 5-point defeat to the Timberwolves by the dynamic duo of Jaylen Nowell/Greg Munro.

The Celtics, whose habits got worse as the game got tougher, gave no indication that there would be more defeats to come.

But then, the most unlikely twist happened, which may be unprecedented in the recent history of the Greeley Tribune Games. The Celtics went from inventing the worst way to lose to becoming the best-case version of themselves, both individually and as a team.

After the Knicks’ loss, he won 5 of three more consecutive 6s… which turned into 7 of 11s… and then 16 of 20 after a nine-game winning streak through February 15, which That 48-point victory was punctuated with the Sixers. Since that win, they have gone 11-3, including the four-game winning streak they took in Wednesday’s matchup with the Jazz.

So since that annoying loss to the Knicks, the Celtics have gone 27-7, improving 45-28 overall and moving from 10th place to fourth in the East, but percentage points from second and just outside of the conference. 2½ Game Back – Leading heat.

If we tell you, the quintessential Celtics fan that you (yeah?) daydream about the case-scenario. But this is not a daydream, nor is it a mirage. Virtually everything a tuned-in Celtics fan wanted to be in January has happened. A short list starting with the most important developments:

Jason Tatum has unlocked all his potential. He got out of the shooting slump of his opening season and made a genuine effort to be a quick decision-maker which increased the mutual trust between him and his teammates. He attacks the hoop with grace, vigor (he doesn’t get enough credit for how hard he’s worked in the weight-room), and the bisexual Plastic Man spins around the hoop. Playing team ball made him even more dangerous, and together with Brown (who is playing very well but is still prone to hero ball bouts), he shared all his words about playing together, winning together. Be supported, and bring out the best in each other. Tatum is a superstar in all respects now, and it seems almost anything is possible.

But hardly everything went right. The rest of the short list: Marcus Smart playing the point guard – he’s wildly underrated as a passer, but he’s cut wild shots… Robert Williams III blossomed into a game-changing defender. And an increasingly shrewd offensive player…Grant Williams has just been the kind of versatile, two-way street that he’s lacked on the bench since the departure of James Posey… Peyton Pritchard’s superior ballhandling to Eddie House Playing like the version… Al Horford got a time machine that took him back to 2017… Derrick White has brought that Spurs connectivity to the offense… and the defense prides itself on his toughness and relentlessness. Is.

Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations, made sure the pieces fit. They didn’t always: Dennis Schröder, Aeneas Cantor Freedom, Romeo Langford, Jabari Parker, and Juancho Hernangómez played a combined 2,780 minutes this season. But they do now. The roles are defined, and first-year head coach Ime Udoka deserves serious coach of the year for convincing players to play a one-man, defensive-minded, basketball-sharing style who is a It is a matter of happiness.

Really, that’s a pretty long list, isn’t it?

The only team I can think of in any game making a U-turn this season is the 2019 St. Louis Blues. They were a league-worst 15-19-4 at one point in January. In June, they defeated the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

I take everything that falls within Nate Silver brand standards with a full shaker of salt these days, but it’s worth noting fivethightyight.com The Celtics are in as the favorites to win the NBA title.

I’m not going that far, not now. There will be no parties in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and moreover, I prefer to enjoy the good things that happen in the moment rather than bask in what I may or may not do in the future.

But I know this. A few months ago, the Celtics kept coming up with crazy ways to lose. Now they only win us over, over and over again, with each satisfying victory a little more.

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