Well, where do I even start with this? It looks like the Celtics are gonna get the 2 seed; which is great. 3 of the best 6 players on the team (Irving, Hayward, Smart) will be missing some or all the playoffs; which sucks. This crippled Celtics team, however, has just gone 4-0 on their west coast road trip and in the last 5 games have gone 5-0 beating 3 Western Conference playoff teams (Thunder, Trail Blazers, Jazz). So in basic terms, being a Celtics fan is confusing as shit right now.
The Jazz should have taken care of Boston easily last night for a few reasons. First of all, Guerschon Yabusele started last night and no matter how much I may obsess over the dancing bear, we should not be winning any game where he is starting for us. He had to get the start because of Horford, Morris, and Theis all being hurt. Even besides the injuries, Utah is clinging on to the 8th seed in the west, so they should have been playing their asses off last night. Brad Stevens luckily had other plans and drew up an incredible gameplan to defeat these guys who must by far have the most boring fanbase in the NBA. Usually on Twitter you’ll see the opposing teams’ fans chirping us for something and with Hayward dipping from Utah to Boston I figured I’d see some hate, but nope, nothing but kindness from Utah. Truly upset me. Now I can get to my point about the playoffs. There’s no way for Celtics fans to have realistic expectations for the playoffs.
The Celtics could be anywhere from getting smacked in the first round to winning the entire NBA finals.
I’m not exaggerating either. As a Celtics fan, you can not be upset if the Heat, Bucks, or whoever knock them out in the first round. On the other hand, you should not be surprised if the C’s are able to defeat the Rockets in the finals either. My one little asterisk would be that there is no chance of taking down the Warriors with or without Curry.
Playoffs are a whole new ballgame.
These injuries might finally make the difference if an exit in the first round were to happen. There’s a very slight chance Kyrie will be back for the first round, but if we were able to crutch our way to the second round and he returns against Lebron and the Cavs, there is no telling what could happen in that series. The Cavs play the closest thing to no defense that I have seen in recent years. The Celtics would just have to play their great defense and a series win isn’t gonna surprise me too much.
Marcus Smart should be returning by the Eastern Conference Finals. His defense will be essential in getting through the Raptors, especially with Toronto having home court advantage. Smart’s the kinda guy who can shut a crowd up with a huge stop. Kyrie, Jaylen, Tatum, and Morris will need to be on their best offensive behavior in that series as we’re gonna need a shit ton of scoring to win the ECF.
For the Finals, well, Marcus Smart is the guy I’m gonna bring up again. We all know how much he loves getting inside James Harden’s head. I would honestly start Smart over Tatum/Brown in that series to stall James Harden immediately. Any time the Beard is on the court, Smart needs to be on the court. Beyond that, Boston will need to keep up with Houston in a 3-point shootout for the entire series. All of this happens, and somehow the Celtics will complete the most confusing finals run of all time.
Now I’m not trying to get you all excited for a finals win by reading this just for us to get upset in the first round. Because Boston could very well get their shit rocked early on and go into the summer before May even begins. That’s why I wrote this article.
Celtics fans need to find a way to be okay with any possible outcome these upcoming playoffs.
Although there still is a solid chance you’ll find a hole in my wall whenever that inevitable playoff exit does occur.
-Brandon Black (@bhblack02)