The Celtics Have a Very Real Shot at the No. 1 Seed: 5 Takeaways vs. Jazzu

Celtics

“I knew the energy was about to shift, so I’m glad we’re here now.”

Greeley Tribune Celtics forward Jason Tatum makes a three point basket on Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neill. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

in a season Full “If I had told you…” moment, the Celtics produced one of their better ones with a resounding win over the Jazz on Wednesday.

The blast itself was a solid “if I had told you” – the Celtics returned from a 4-0 road trip out west and destroyed the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. jazz, who has The league’s best offense and second-best points difference never stood a chance after the Celtics made their first 10 shots of the game (which in itself affected credibility).

But the big “if I had told you” was aided by the heat, which melted down Against the warriors and lost. 1 seed in the conference – they are now only 1.5 games behind the Heat, with one head-to-head remaining. With another head-to-head the Bucks also remaining, the Celtics almost control their fate.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” Said Jaylen Brown smiling after the game. “Not really. I feel like it was all very, very, very major for us. We just had to put the whole stretch together and things like that.

“I knew the energy was going to shift, so I’m glad we’re here now. It’s crazy to know we’re a game-and-a-half – winning some of the games we blew through in the first half of the season Would have been nice because maybe we would have been in first place now. But everything happens for a reason, so we take it one game at a time. Let’s see where we are when it comes to the playoffs.”

After returning in January from Marcus Smart’s absence, which was part injury, part COVID, the Celtics won a game and the Browns famous tweet That energy was about to shift.

That tweet – which Brown once insisted had nothing to do with basketball – has become a pivot point of sorts for the Celtics. On Wednesday, Brown reiterated that the tweet was about Mercury retrograde. For those who don’t know (like this author until two minutes ago), the mercury in retrograde refers to three times per year. Mercury appears to travel backwards in the sky. According to a cursory Google search, Mercury retrograde causes confusion and frustration—two apt descriptors of the Celtics—before the calendar was flipped.

“The retrograde was coming to an end, so I tweeted that the energy was about to shift,” Brown said. “So it so happens that when the retrograde ended, then we started on this crazy winning streak. But it’s all connected.”

If Brown is right, the Celtics could be in trouble: The next Mercury retrograde is from May 10 to June 2 — prime playoff time.

Anyway, back to basketball.

more takeaways

2. Marcus Smart made 13 assists – his season high. In recent weeks, his ability to manipulate defense has been on display. A perfect example (and one of Smart’s better passes this year) is from Wednesday’s game.

A lot happens here, so let’s go over it briefly.

  • As Smart circled, Rudy Gobert shadowed him. Gobert is one of the only players in the NBA who can compete fairly and in that scenario prevent Robert Williams from smartly lobbing.
  • Still, Royce O’Neill made a move toward Williams, away from Brown in the corner.
  • Smart appeared to pass Brown, and Eric Pascal broke up with Tatum in the last possible second to leave Brown in the contest.
  • Smart appeared to catch Pascal breaking for Tatum from the corner of his eye and hit an excellent pass to Tatum straight into his body. Paschall stumbled back to recover and overshot Tatum, who buried a 3-pointer.

“I know, know, know what I can do and who I am as a player,” Smart said after the game. “My whole career, I have been a point guard. Went to college as a point guard, dressed up as a point guard, and to be really used as a point guard, all I can say is it’s where it belongs. I am in the right position at the end and it suits me and it helps this team as well.”

3. The Celtics have the best shot-blocking guard in the league (Derrick White) and one of the best shot blockers of period (Robert Williams), but at the end of the season, the best block of the year could be against Daniel Theis in the first half. Jordan Clarkson.

Ripley showed a completely clear disapproval. Even Theis needed a minute to collect himself.

4. The Celtics buried the Jazz early with a 3-point barrage, and their numbers remained the same throughout the game. Tatum – whose 3-point numbers continue to creep after a slow start – ends up 5-for-8. Peyton Pritchard – who has been shooting 63.3 percent from 3-point range in his last five games – was 3-for-4. Brown was comparatively cool for a 3-for-6. Even Derrick White, whose struggle to 3 since joining the Celtics has surpassed any reasonable statistical projection, was 2-for-3.

The Celtics are looking great with the ball movement and are cashing in on them.

“how does it look like?” Brown asked reporters.

Even objective journalists have to admit that it looks great right now.

“We feel great, man,” Brown said. “We feel great. I keep saying, we’re just taking it one day at a time. It’s about us. So we just have to do what we do well and put that chip on our shoulder.” , and I think we’ll be fine.”

5. How does Brown feel about Tatum’s blow-a-kiss festivities?

“Well, Jason stole the kiss from me,” Brown said. “He sees me working out and stuff like that, and then pregame, when I’m getting ready for games, he watches my workouts and he sees what I’m doing and he likes ‘Okay, I’ll come out and see if I can avoid anything.’

“He definitely got a kiss from me. Let’s roll back the tape. Now I have to mix it. I don’t know what to do. JT picks up a lot. He’s light-skinned so he looks better when he does.” So I had to replace it.”

We’re not sure if Brown can prove he sparked a kiss before, but due to a quirk in the schedule, the Celtics have the next three days off. So rest assured, we are on the case.

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