Halfway into the 2023 National Basketball League season, the Boston Celtics sit on top of the league with a 29-12 record. Coming off a championship run, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Celtics are looking towards another run with stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown at the helm.
Before the start of the season, former head coach Ime Udoka was suspended by the team for the entire season after violating team policies, resulting in assistant coach Joe Mazzulla’s promotion to interim head coach.
Notable transactions from the Celtics during the offseason include signing Danilo Gallinaro, re-signing Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser, trading for Malcolm Brogdon, and signing Blake Griffin.
To start the season, the Boston Celtics won at home in TD Garden against the Philadelphia 76ers. With center Robert Williams III sidelined while recovering from surgery, the starting lineup consisted of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Al Horford.
Throughout the next 22 games, the team gathered an impressive 18-4 record with a nine-game win streak.
During this stretch, the Celtics have excelled in many different areas: they were one of only four teams with a winning record on the road, and they were first in eight additional categories, including points per game, offensive rating, percentage shooting overall from the three, and free throw.
On the contrary, after this stretch, the team’s performance started to dwell down. They experienced their first three-game losing streak in December and lost 6 out of 14 games.
In their first rematch against the Warriors, after exchanging leads a couple of times in the first quarter, they went on to get outscored in all four quarters in the loss.
Despite both teams missing a starter, Boston was defeated 150-117 by the Oklahoma City Thunders at home. The Thunders took advantage of Williams being out by constantly attacking inside the three-point line, exposing a potential flaw.
Nonetheless, Tatum and Brown are both having career years, increasing their percentage on points, rebounds, assists per game, and other stats, despite a few subpar performances from the team.
No other Celtics player has led the team in scoring in a game besides them.
Since Brown and Tatum were drafted as the third overall picks in 2016 and 2017, respectively, they have developed into stars and have guided the team into the Eastern Conference Finals four times and once to the NBA Finals.
Tatum has notched three All-Stars, one All-NBA First Team, and Eastern Conference Finals MVP, while Brown became an All-Star in 2021.
Some other honorable mentions include Brogdon being favored to win the sixth man of the year award. After being acquired in a trade, Brogdon has helped elevate the Celtic’s bench and has consistently made big plays.
Although the Celtics have been impressive, there are many more games remaining before playoffs.
If Boston wants another chance to win a championship, they must continue going forward with the energy they have amassed so far this season.