Boston Celtics: West coast swing an opportunity to overcome adversity

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Undermanned and struggling, the Boston Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

Magical seasons in sports are often defined by great team play, a little bit of luck and a tenacity in overcoming adversity. All aspects of the game the Boston Celtics have come across in 2017-18.

Gordon Hayward suffers a gruesome injury less than ten minutes into the first regular season game. This alone could have sent a team spiraling into the abyss, especially for a Celtics team still getting to know each other.

Boston responded — after two losses to open the season — with a 16-game winning streak.

This is a young team, with a lot placed on the shoulders of second-year stalwart Jaylen Brown and rookie sensation Jayson Tatum.

Until a recent run of post-London blues, both had been playing like seasoned veterans. Brown and Tatum both returned to form in the victory over the Clippers.

Due to a trip to London, Boston was saddled with the task of playing more games in the first two months than any other team. How did they respond? By putting up the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Any team or franchise with an eye on the championship likely will have to overcome adversity at some point during the season. An 82-game grind, plus a minimum of 16 games in the playoffs will throw a lot at a team.

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The other night against the Clippers, the Celtics checked into the adversity column again when they snapped a four-game losing streak.

Boston Celtics west coast swing

Struggles had hovered over Boston like a lightning storm since returning from London. The offense had mostly become a one-man show in the form of Kyrie Irving and the losses began to mount.

Team defense, which still is one of the best in the league, took a step back.

Rock bottom may have happened in a loss against the Los Angeles Lakers (or the Celtics were looking ahead on the schedule. Take your pick. Or pick both.)

Boston held the Lakers to 15 points in the first quarter and were comfortably ahead at halftime. But a combination of lackluster defense and tossing up over 40 three-point attempts and getting dominated in the key contributed to the loss.

Playing in Staples Center again the night after the Lakers game, and down Al Horford and Marcus Smart, the Celtics could have easily packed it in. They could have let their losing streak reach five and prep for Golden State.

We know what happened next.

A complete team effort, from Irving to Terry Rozier to rookie Semi Ojeleye, helped the Celtics knock off the Clippers 113-102.

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A good deal for the Celtics success the past few seasons can be credited to head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens, even more so this year, is making the right adjustments and has all his players believing in the system.

Great team play, a little luck and overcoming adversity. All in the day of the life of the Boston Celtics. Now to take care of the Golden State Warriors again and all will be right in the world.