By Cullen McIntyre, Sports Editor
The Boston Celtics were labeled as the favorite in the Eastern Conference this year, and as the challenger to the unstoppable Golden State Warriors. But then the season started, and things didn’t particularly go the way experts predicted.
The Boston Celtics started off the year with a 10-10 start, which was not how anyone expected a team loaded with talent would start their season. But the inability to mesh star point guard Kyrie Irving with his supporting cast of Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, Gordon Hayward and more caused the team to go through many rough patches.
The team continued their ups and downs throughout the season, and most recently went on their worst losing streak of the season after losing four straight games after the All-Star break. During that time media coverage on the Celtics was not what fans wanted to see or hear with players calling out their teammates and players showing clear frustration with each other.
The Celtics ended their four-game streak with a 107-96 win over the Washington Wizards at home on March 1, and fans began to get their hopes up with the team again. But their hopes were instantly crushed as the Celtics suffered a disappointing 115-104 loss to the Houston Rockets where 2018 MVP shooting guard James Harden scored 42 points.
Following the home loss to the Rockets, the team departed Boston and traveled all the way to Oakland, CA to take on the NBA-best Golden State Warriors last Tuesday. In what many expected to be a blowout, and a game that clearly highlighted the issues of chemistry between the team, it was the complete opposite. The Boston Celtics dominated every minute of the game, making the right passes, forcing turnovers, and making the team who has won three NBA Championships in the past four years look like a G-League starting five.
Everything is seeming to mesh for the Celtics, and after Wednesday night’s win over the Sacramento Kings, where Hayward scored a last second bucket to put the Celtics ahead and win the game, the team is finally bringing hope to the diehard Boston fans. But for a team that has consistently been up and down all season, the question looming around this team is if it can last.
The answer is yes, and it will. The Boston Celtics, if fully healthy, have the talent to go all the way to the finals and challenge the Warriors in a seven-game series. The issue this year has been the team’s ability to mesh, and use all of their talent throughout the game. The entire season we have all watched the constant “hero-ball” where everyone just tries to score on their own and end up making terrible plays. But over the past two games we have seen a Celtics that hasn’t made an appearance since the playoffs last year, and that team is full of ball movement and energy.
The Celtics’ energy was showing all Tuesday and Wednesday night as the bench was up and cheering for every single play. On the court, the team’s chemistry was the strongest it’s been all season. Several players have spoke out about how the team has finally meshed together on this west coast trip, and should it be able to continue for the rest of the season, this team will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
The Celtics final game of the west coast trip is Monday, March 11 at 10:30 p.m. against the Los Angeles Clippers who they lost horribly to in their last meeting. The team doesn’t return home to Boston until Thursday, March 14 for another game against the Sacramento Kings with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
With only a month left until playoffs, the Celtics will hope to continue their strong chemistry and stylish play for the rest of the regular season. The team is unbeatable when they’re all on the same page, and they will need to be, come playoff time.