Boston Celtics: Is banner 18 on the way?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Marcus Smart
BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Marcus Smart /

The Boston Celtics are probably considered the best team in the East now that Kyrie is almost undoubtedly leaving Cleveland.

With that being said, everyone knows from past years that LeBron James is always a threat to the Boston Celtics, being known as what many Celtics buffs call a “Celtics Killer”. Other than the Cleveland Cavaliers, there seems to be no stopping the Celtics in the East, but what else stands in their way?

The West

When you look at the West, there are three teams that fans talk about most: the Rockets, Warriors, and Timberwolves. They all made key signings, and can all make a splash in a conference that is loaded with talent. When you break down the teams in the West that could contend, you’ll definitely notice that Beantown is not in for a cake walk if they make it to the finals.

Golden State

Boston has yet to face this Warriors squad in the postseason, but they have done well against them in the regular season. The two teams have similar offenses, but the defensive side of the ball is where the two teams begin to separate.

The reigning champs have four of the biggest stars in the league, including a talented (but not very deep) bench. The Boston Celtics use their depth to their advantage, so personnel is another the way the two teams are contrasted. However, the Warriors’ stars do outplay the Celtics’ depth.

It is safe to say that the Warriors will probably win against this year’s Boston squad if they are to meet in the Finals this year. G-State just has too many weapons, and the Celtics aren’t very strong on the defensive side of the ball. The only way the Beantown Ballers would have a shot is if KD goes down with an injury, which no one should ever hope for.

San Antonio

This team does not seem like they can compete for a title, but the Spurs are always in the conversation. San Antonio will do what they always do, and that’s compete. The Celts always have a hard time with the Spurs, but they would have more of a chance in this series.

As far as play style, both teams play similar. They are hustle teams on defense, and rely on moving the ball around the perimeter, mixing in dribble drives and screens as they go. The Boston Celtics lean more towards the trey-ball, but San Antonio doesn’t care about where the shot is, as long as it’s the best shot available.

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Boston would have trouble with Kawhi “Sugar K” Leonard. He can do so much on offensive, and he is twice as good on defense. He has length, quickness, strength, and a mean vertical too. Combine those physical attributes with his intelligence and his skills, and he is easily a top five player, arguably the best player in the league. Every team in the league will have problems with him this year.

Other than the Klaw, Boston has a shot at beating this tough Spurs team if they are to meet in the championship.

MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 22: Kawhi Leonard
MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 22: Kawhi Leonard /


I always have trouble talking about the Rockets. After the Chris Paul trade, they have a great backcourt on paper, but it is hard to tell if they will gel well in the course of a season. No, fans, the Drew League does not mean anything at this point.

Assuming all goes well for Clutch City and they make it to the Finals against Boston, this will be interesting. Since the Celtics traded away Avery Bradley, the big matchups in the backcourt will probably go to either Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, or Jayson Tatum. Jaylen Brown will probably be matched up with James Harden when he comes off the bench. Same goes for Marcus Smart on Chris Paul.

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Chris Paul and James Harden are ball dominant, we all are well aware of that, but their primary roles on offense are different enough to where they could put up 40-50 per game on their own. The main focus for the C’s in this series would be to limit open looks for either of those guys. Everyone else on that team can’t create as well as Harden or Chris can.

The Boston Celtics could win this series in 5 games if it occurs.


This team is obviously talented, but they are young. If they make it to the conference semifinals, that should be a huge victory on its own. If they overachieve and make it to the finals against Boston, there are a lot of things to consider.

First off, the Timberwolves are LOADED with talent. There is not a player on that squad who can’t ball out when needed. Jimmy Butler is one of the best two way guards in the league, Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best young talents the league has ever seen, Andrew Wiggins is already and elite scorer, and Jeff Teague is a tremendous floor general who is a solid on-ball defender. I haven’t even mentioned their deep bench or Taj Gibson yet.

Boston’s main concern would be their lack of rebounding. Minnesota has a team filled with players that are more than capable of out rebounding their matchup. If Beantown gets obliterated on the glass, which is very likely, then this series would be easy for the T-Wolves.


Injuries are always a concern for every professional sports team. It’s a shame you can’t just go into a settings menu and turn the injury sliders all the way down like a video game. One of the Celtics’ top players had injury issues in his elbow last year. His name? Al Horford.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics /

Horford also had issues with a concussion at one point in the season, and the C’s really missed him. They lost the rebounding battle in almost every game they played without Al last year. That’s at least how it seemed.

Isaiah Thomas has had issues with his hip all Summer. If that happens throughout the course of the regular season, Boston may be dropping a lot of games.

Never forget about the East

A lot of talent has fled to the West, but the East still have some solid teams. A superstar does not make a team. It is a luxury, not a necessity.

Cleveland, this one’s for you

The Cavs may be trading Kyrie, but they still have the best player in the World in LeBron James. On top of that, they will have Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and whoever they get in return for Irving. If you have LeBron, you are automatically put into the Championship conversation.

Beantown always struggles with James, and if they face off, it will always be anyone’s game, as the King still struggles against the most winningest franchise in the NBA. This would still be a fantastic playoff series to watch, even with Kyrie out of Ohio.

Ultimately, this series would probably be won by Boston, as they have more depth, and their will to win outweighs that of the Cavs.


Yes, Milwaukee. They are young, but they are also very well coached and put together. The young duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker alone is enough to propel them to a bottom seed in the playoffs. The rest of the team is enough to give them home court advantage in the first round and beyond.

The Celtics, once again, probably won’t be able to match up with the Bucks on the boards. They are just a bigger team. It is nearly impossible to box out players like the Greek freak or players like John Henson off the bench. They are so big, but they are extremely physical as well.

Boston would have to use their shooting to their advantage. If they can draw players like Thon Maker and John Henson out to the perimeter, then their points will be a lot easier to come by.

The Celtics would have a huge shot at winning this matchup. Shots would just have to be falling for them. The Bucks can’t counter the C’s when they have their run and gun 3-point offense working the way they want to.


Washington and  the Boston Celtics have a serious rivalry forming, and it will be fun to watch it grow. A playoff series between the two would be high stakes and a lot of fun to watch.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are easily the two biggest factors in this whole series. If both of them can turn it up a notch, then the Celtics are in for a long round. If only one can, then a quarter of the Wizards’ offense is gone.

Rebounding is something to watch for again. While D.C. isn’t the biggest team around, they are not afraid to put a body on someone and fight for the ball. They like to hustle as much as the Grizzlies do. Marcin Gortat is one of the best at establishing position in the paint, and he will probably put up monster stats in the rebounding department if they meet.

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When the dust settles, Boston will probably still win this matchup, despite the advantages Washington has. The Celtics have more depth, and that will come into play.

Coming to a Close

With all of these points made about what stands in their way, the Boston Celtics probably won’t win the finals, but have a huge shot at making it if all goes as planned. With how young this team is, that would be a huge success for them. It is possible for them to win it, however. Don’t be surprised if banner 18 is being hung in the rafters this time next year.