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The Boston Celtics took fans on a heck of a ride last year, advancing to within one game of winning the Eastern Conference and heading to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly a decade. Poor shooting on their home floor kept them from being the first team to keep LeBron James out of the Finals since … the Boston Celtics in 2010.

The 2017-18 Celtics arrived earlier than expected despite losing one big-ticket free agent acquisition (Gordon Hayward) five minutes into the first game of the season and the other (Kyrie Irving) with 20 games left. Yet with neither of their mega-talent additions on the floor, Boston still made the conference finals thanks primarily to huge leaps by youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and the deceptive low-key excellence of Al Horford.

That team won 55 games and was the top seed in the East … and this latest incarnation is almost certainly going to be better. Maybe a lot better.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:47

Celtics Check-in – Third Quarter

It shouldn’t be any sort of surprise that the Celtics have cooled off considerably since their blazing hot start to the season. This was never going to be a team that demonstrated that kind of dominance over the course of an entire year; the inevitable regression plus the elevation of performance by other teams has changed the dynamic of the conference considerably.

Going into the All-Star break – the NBA season’s “midway point” even though it’s essentially three-quarters over - Boston’s record sat at 40-19. It’s a solid record, though they’ve been overtaken for the Eastern Conference lead by the surging Toronto Raptors and have a reenergized Cleveland Cavaliers quad nipping at their heels.

The Celtics have been decidedly meh since the season’s actual midpoint – they’ve managed a .500 record (a notch below that, really). They’ve maintained their defensive strength (albeit not to the extremes of their early season performance), but their offense has dipped significantly. There’s no reason to panic – we knew that this team wasn’t going to win 60 – but there are some causes for concern.

Still, this is a very good team. They’re well-coached and are led by an elite talent. No one is going to want to face this group in the playoffs.

Let’s check in.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:07

Celtics Check-In – Halftime

I’ll freely admit that it’s shameful that it has taken me this long to start writing about the Celtics. As someone so attuned to the comings and goings of other New England teams and writing regular features on the Patriots and Red Sox, it’s weird that the C’s have gotten short shrift.

So call me a bandwagon-jumper if you wish – you wouldn’t be wrong – but I’m definitely paying more attention to Boston basketball than I have in nearly a decade.

Obviously, it’s a lot more fun to write about a good team. And with a 33-10 record as of press time – a record that gives them the second-best winning percentage in all of basketball and a spot at the very top of the Eastern Conference – there’s no disputing that these Celtics are very good.

Yes, the team has cooled down after their blazing hot beginnings, but there’s nothing wrong with a stretch of 15-6 following their 18-4 start. As we go to press, they’re riding a six-game winning streak. Again – a VERY good team.

Let’s check in.

Published in Sports
Friday, 23 June 2017 11:37

2017 Celtics draft quiet despite hype

C’s select Duke forward Jayson Tatum with third pick

Published in Sports

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