The next couple of months of the NBA season hold a lot of promise as the Boston Celtics fight for a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference.
As long as the Celtics don’t lose the fun-loving atmosphere that brought them here.
Here meaning the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 38-16. The Celtics sit 1.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors. Off in the distance, basking in the aura of a 46-8 record and eight games ahead of Boston, is the Milwaukee Bucks.
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Boston, thanks to an 8-2 finish prior to the all-star break, created some separation between themselves and seeds four through six. The Miami Heat sit three games back, Philadelphia 4.5, and the Indiana Pacers 6.5. It also helped that none of these three teams had a record above .500 in the last ten games.
Barring a sudden change in fortune, the Bucks won’t be relinquishing the top seed. Eyes for Boston should be zeroed in on catching Toronto for the second seed. The Raptors are playing just as well, if not better, thanks to a 9-1 record in their last ten games. The defending champs were expected to take a step back this season but have proven to be just as good without Kawhi Leonard.
The good news? Boston is 2-1 against Toronto this season and will meet for the final time on March 20.
The Boston Celtics are doing fantastic things on both sides of the court. And the scary thing is we’ve rarely seen Boston play as a completely healthy unit.
Heading out west
A tough road trip awaits the Boston Celtics right out of the gates, starting Friday in Minnesota. That’s followed up by games at Los Angeles (Lakers), Portland, and Utah.
And the Celtics should be healthy doing so.
Jayson Tatum, Brown and Walker are all averaging over 20 points per game, with Tatum leading the way at 22.4. Tatum has turned things up a notch as of late, averaging 27.3 points over has last ten games and has dropped 30 or more three times already in February.
Of the five players mentioned above, Jayson Tatum has also played in the most games (50), missing four. Walker has missed eight games, Brown ten, Smart 11, and Hayward 17.
Wanamaker has upped his game in recent weeks. He’s scoring 10 ppg in February, three times scoring in double figures. Wanamker is also averaging 3.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game this month while playing 23.1 minutes. All of these stats are above his season average.
While Brad Wanamaker won’t be competing for sixth man of the year, his play is exactly what the Boston Celtics needed. Continuing on this path will make Boston even better, hopefully providing the bench a scorer that’s been sorely lacking in 2019-20.
Part of that lack of production can be attributed to the health issues. A solid rotation led by Smart, Wanamaker, and Enes Kanter off the bench will start to do wonders. Throw in Robert Williams, Semi Ojeleye, and an improving Romeo Langford, and the Celtics will be a serious contender come playoff time.
It all starts this weekend with solid play on the road.