The Boston Celtics were the best team in 2022, tearing the NBA apart for the months leading up to the playoffs. After steamrolling through the Eastern Conference and winning some dogfights against the Bucks and Heat, the C’s were poised to go all the way and win the NBA Championship.
Even with the Warriors as their opponents, we still expected the Celtics to win it all. The fact that there was any debate against Klay, Draymond, and Steph just shows how talented the team really is.
However, we didn’t see that. As I sit here, writing this article, the Celtics are down by 20 in the third quarter. Obviously, a comeback is possible, but winning this game seems well out of reach.
Although I may not be able to predict the future, maybe this Celtics team wins it all. As unlikely s it sounds, it’s always possible with this Celtics team.
This series, quite honestly, could have been a breeze for Boston. With two all-defensive players and your star being first-team All-NBA, this team has the perfect combination of offensive firepower and defensive enforcers.
Regardless, they have had difficulty finding their footing, The star power seems to disappear in big moments, and the once unbreakable defense is starting to tear down. No one could have predicted this level of catastrophe, and it may have cost the Boston Celtics the series.
The bonafide star player of this team, the MVP candidate made his mark on the league this year. Averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, he became the focal point of opposing defenses as early as opening night.
His dip in production in the playoffs as a whole has been noticeable, with some horrid games highlighting the bunch. His points, rebounds, and field goal percentage all went down in the playoffs, regardless of averaging 5 more minutes a game.
Being the supposed undisputed number one player on your team, you can’t have nights where you’re the number 3 or 4. Jaylen Brown has had a bigger impact in some games than JT. Hell, even Al Horford is playing above that threshold! This kind of slump cannot happen to any important player in the NBA Finals, especially not the guy who led you there.
The Absence of Robert Williams III
Williams is undoubtedly one of the best rim protectors and shot blockers in the league today. The second-team all-defense big man helps this team win, and is top 5 in almost every advanced defensive statistic during the postseason.
After his knee injury, he could never consistently stay on the court. He played every other game of the series against Miami, but even after coming back for every game, he has trouble staying on the court.
Williams averaged 30 minutes a game during the regular season, which quickly shot down to 22 this postseason. Getting starter minutes and bumping it down to 6th or 7th man reps can and will drastically affect a team’s winning.
Although we all know this isn’t Williams’ fault and we want to see him suit up full time again soon, the knee injury was just terrible timing for the Celtics, making their defense worse when he’s on the bench.
Just watch the game. The Warriors are fighting for everything, staying physical, and backing each other up at all times. The Celtics seem more passive, and their fighting seems more like a whine in comparison.
Although I won’t let either team slip for how badly they call for fouls, Boston almost feels like they get fuel taken away from the fire compared to how the Warriors pile it on. The Warriors are just simply built for this moment, and the Celtics are not.
Boston needs to find something to work for. It really seems like Golden State just wants it more. I loved the Game 2 C’s, where everything was a battle, everything was tough. However, as the series progressed, you saw more and more of that drive taken away.
The Celtics need 100% leadership, accountability, and confidence. Although the injury may very well make an impact on this series, they really need to gas the engine and get it running before it sputters out and finally breaks down.