Boston Celtics are officially a legit title contender this season

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) greets Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) greets Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics thrilling turnaround to the 2021-22 season just won’t let up. After crawling out to an 18-21 start to the season, the Celtics have gone red hot, going 20-6 over their last 26 games to push their record to 38-27, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Despite dominating pretty much all of their opponents, Boston struggled to convince everyone, even their own fans (hand raised here) that they were for real. They were beating up on opponents that were either severely shorthanded or just downright bad. For a point in time, it just seemed like things were evening out after their brutal start to the season.

But recently, the Celtics have proved that their winning ways are no fluke. They have continued beating bad teams, but they have also been pulling out wins over playoff contenders now too. Recent victories over the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies, which came with Jaylen Brown injured nonetheless, have proved what the C’s have been showing us for some time now; this team is a legit title contender, and the rest of the NBA needs to watch out for them.

Related Story. ‘Winning breeds confidence’, Boston Celtics title odds rise. light

The Boston Celtics have finally reached their potential as a title contender this season

Any team led by a star duo of Brown and Jayson Tatum is going to be expected to succeed, but for the start of the season, that wasn’t the case. The Boston Celtics were excruciating to watch, as they would show flashes of their potential, only to find a new way to lose each time out. It made no sense how a team with this much talent could lose all these games.

And then it finally all clicked. Tatum and Brown found their form, Ime Udoka got his system into place, and the bench found ways to contribute and help out alongside Tatum and Brown. The result has been the recent stretch of winning that has pushed Boston from outside the Play-In Tournament all the way up the fifth seed in the East.

Related Story. Derrick White trade proving to be a major win for the C's. light

As mentioned earlier though, there weren’t really any defining wins that made you think this team was legit prior to this week. The closest they had was a 108-102 win over the Denver Nuggets, who have been shorthanded all season long without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., and a 105-95 win over the Hawks that saw the team turn a 10 point halftime deficit into a 10 point margin of victory.

But with two solid victories over the Hawks and Grizzlies (again, both coming without Brown), the Celtics have officially proved that they are for real. These are two games that Boston would have found ways to lose earlier in the year, but instead, they found a way to pull out a pair of massive victories that saw them jump ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings.

The thing that separates this weeks victory over the Hawks from the aforementioned one is the circumstances surrounding the game. Brown played just three minutes before suffering a right ankle sprain that would keep him out of the rest of the game. For most of the first half, the Celtics struggled to overcome his loss, and they trailed by as many as 17 at one point.

But they came out rejuvenated in the second half, and focused on slowing down Hawks star guard Trae Young, who was getting too much room to roam offensively early on. The result was just 33 points for the Hawks in the second half, which is an absurdly low total. The Celtics put the clamps on one of the most explosive offenses in the game with ease, and grind out a win despite losing one of their best players.

Chowder And Champions
Chowder And Champions /

Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!

Write for us!

Then, with Brown still out, the Celtics took on the Grizzlies, who are one of the top teams in the Western Conference this season. Led by star guard Ja Morant, they feature an explosive offense that can gash you over and over. Heck, Morant had been averaging over 40 points per game over his previous four outings heading into this one.

So what did Boston do? They shut down Morant in the first half. He shot just 3/14 in the first half, as the Celtics were content to sit back and let him shoot the ball rather than attack the rim. Morant found his footing in the second half, but he was out-dueled by Tatum, who poured in 21 fourth quarter points to lead Boston to it’s 13th win over their last 15 games.

This game was particularly encouraging for Tatum, as he did what he hasn’t been able to do for much of the season, and that is take a game over in the fourth quarter and close it out. A big reason Boston kept losing games in the fourth earlier this season is because their offense would go stagnant. Much of that was on Tatum’s shoulders, and in a huge game against Memphis, Tatum stepped up and won his battle against Morant to hand the Boston Celtics a huge win.

These two games prove Boston is for real. This isn’t to say they have won a title or anything outrageous like that, but they are now officially one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, there’s simply no denying it anymore. They have a chance to cement this status even further, as they will face a Brooklyn Nets team that will feature both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for the first time all season long on Sunday afternoon.

Next. Celtics title odds rise with recent win streak. dark

It’s been a long time coming, but the Boston Celtics have officially arrived. Led by Tatum and Brown, while also boasting one of the stingiest defenses in the league, the Celtics can beat any team in the league. It’s for this reason the Celtics have officially emerged as a legitimate title contender, and that’s bad news for the rest of the NBA.