Boston Celtics: What we learned in December

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 25: Jayson Tatum
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 25: Jayson Tatum /

After a riding a 16 game winning streak to start the season, the Boston Celtics came back down to earth in December.

The Boston Celtics started the season as well as any team could, ripping off 16 straight wins after losing All-Star Gordon Hayward.  It looked as though Boston couldn’t be stopped, but all good things come to an end.  The team stumbled through December, with 10 wins and six losses.  It doesn’t seem like much, but guys in green have started looking tired.

Guys, I get it. It’s a long season and exhaustion happens.  It doesn’t help that Boston has played more games than any other team in the league. I know it just sounds like an excuse at this point, but c’mon.  That has to account for something.  

Here’s what we’ve learned this month:

Kyrie Irving is an MVP candidate: Yes it seems premature, but wow is this guy impressive. I’ve always loved his game, but his defense has just looked so much better this season.  I’m so excited to watch him develop throughout this season and next, because there’s so much more he can do that we haven’t seen yet.

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Jayson Tatum must be protected at all costs:  You read that right.  The 19 year old rookie is a PLAYER.  What a steal by Danny.  I absolutely love Jayson Tatum and from what I can tell, it hasn’t taken long for Celtics fans to fall in love with him either.  I think he’s really something special, probably as close to untouchable on this roster as you can get.

Al Horford holds it all together:  I’m not exactly sure this was a secret.  Al Horford is the glue to this team, no matter who might deny it.  His vision and defense really lead this team, and he looks just so comfortable this season.  I’ve constantly said how much I love Al Horford, and watching him do the little things just solidifies that.  Who doesn’t love a high IQ basketball player?  That’s who you want on your team.

-Brad Stevens is really, really good at his job: Say what you will about the team’s struggles and his rotations, but if anyone else (except maybe Popovich), was coaching this team, I have a hard time believing they’d still have such a good record. Credit Stevens, who clearly said something to his guys during halftime of the Rockets game on December 29, because his guys came out and dominated the second half for an epic win.

Next: The 5 faces of the Boston Celtics: The coach, the stars and the future

Overall, I’d say we’ve learned a lot about the different parts of the Boston Celtics over the course of December.  There’s still a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see this team is headed in the right direction.