Celtics are slowly starting to improve

Logo of the Boston Celtics.

The NBA is an ever-changing league where the fate of a team can change within a week. Two weeks ago, I wrote about everything that was going wrong with the Boston Celtics. At this point, the Celtics were 25, and since then we have gone 84. They have addressed some of the problems I brought up in that last article like defense, scoring and fit.

My first criticism was the defense. At one point, the Celtics were dead last in the league on defensive rating despite having elite defenders like Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford. They were giving up 120 points almost every game, but since my last article, they have held teams to under 100 points multiple times. They held the Miami Heat, one of the best teams in the league, to 78 points. The last two weeks, the Celtics have been top five in defensive efficiency. There haven’t been any trades or any significant changes to the roster, just that they have been playing with more effort. Al Horford returning to the team has also been big for them, too. Horford has been amazing as the defensive anchor this season. One concern I had with Horford was his age. At 35, I thought we wouldn’t get too much production, but luckily, I was very wrong. At one point, he was leading the league in blocks per game and is currently second. He has been a big reason why our defense has been so good recently. Given that the Celtics are paying him a whopping $27 million a year, third most on the team, I am relieved he is playing well.

One of the other criticisms that I had about the Celtics was their scoring. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are easily some of the best scorers in the league, however, they cannot be the only two consistent scorers on the team. With Brown out, this flaw was on full display. During the off-season, the Celtics traded away Kemba Walker, who was the most consistent scorer behind Tatum and Brown. Yes, he was overpaid and yes, he wasn’t healthy, but he was able to score about 20 a night while letting Tatum and Brown shine. Dennis Schroder has tried to be that this season, and while he has had his fair share of good games, he isn’t as consistent as one would like.

My last topic criticism was fit. Against the Atlanta Hawks, Tatum had his best game. He had a total of 34 points on good efficiency. They ended up losing this game 110–99, but this type of performance makes me optimistic about the fit between him and Jaylen Brown. Tatum then followed that game up with a 37-point performance in a dominant win over the Los Angeles Lakers. We are only 19 games into the season so it is still too early to judge the season as a whole, but if Jayson Tatum can continue to shoot more efficiently as he did against the Hawks and Lakers while Jaylen Brown is playing, then the Celtics can be dangerous. 

Do you want to see the Celtics play? Well, the Campus Center is selling discounted Celtics Tickets again, this time against Cleveland. The Celtics play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 22. Tacko Fall will be returning to TD Garden which is always fun. I went to the last game that the Campus Center sold tickets for against the Toronto Raptors and it was a blast. There is something about seeing live sports that is just exhilarating. Just don’t bring any bags or they won’t let you in.

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