The second round of the NBA playoffs is almost here. The Boston Celtics will start the second round on Sunday after the players boycotted their playoff games over the past few days. Once the playoffs resume, the Celtics will be back and ready to go up against their toughest opponent yet, the Toronto Raptors.
After last year’s horrific playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics are back for vengeance. As bad as last season may have ended, it was a valuable learning experience for the young players on this team. Jayson and Jaylen have made it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. They’ve also been embarrassed in the second round of the playoffs.
These experiences have gotten them to where they are now. They will use last year and the year prior as motivation to not only make it further than the Eastern Conference Finals but to also avoid that feeling of disappointment that last year brought.
For months analysts have called Boston a sleeper team, an underdog, and a team that can upset some top contenders in the playoffs.
At the beginning of the year, the expectations for this team weren’t large. After last season, this team’s ceiling wasn’t that high. Nobody really knew how the team would be after losing many key rotation players and Al Horford. It was hard to predict the jump that Jayson and Jaylen would make now that they had Kemba Walker over Kyrie. It’s safe to say that these players blew everybody’s expectations out of the water.
Jayson Tatum has turned into a superstar while Kemba Walker remained the silent killer that he is. Jaylen Brown has emerged as one of the top guards in the NBA today. Gordon Hayward has also proved that he still has it. Marcus Smart has remained the heart and soul of this team, while Daniel Theis has become a starting center this team can count on.
The ceiling wasn’t high for this team before the season started, but it is now. This team is more than capable of making it to the NBA Finals in Orlando. They have the scoring, the defense, the depth, and the coaching to make a serious run.
They’ve beaten nearly every top team in the entire league, including the Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors. This team has stood toe-to-toe with the best of them and have beaten them. They’ve blown out the Lakers and Raptors while also taking the Clippers to OT and getting the win.
This team has the coaching that will give them the opportunities to take them far. Brad Stevens has proven year after year that he can, and will, put his players in the best possible position for them to succeed. It’s just up to them if they can do it.
This team has experience. Jaylen and Jayson have made it to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in their first and second years in the NBA. Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward have a taste of what the playoffs are like. Marcus Smart has been through the ups and downs during his time in Boston. Hell, even Enes Kanter has made the playoffs a handful of times on some good teams. Some of those teams include the Trail Blazers, who made the Western Conference Finals last season.
This team has been waiting for this opportunity all season long. Since the beginning, they’ve wanted to exceed expectations and show that last season only made them stronger. I can’t say that they’ve exceeded expectations just yet, but I have the utmost confidence that they can.
Even without Hayward for at least the second round, this team is built for the playoffs, and this team is built to make it to the NBA Finals.
Boston in 7 over Toronto. Boston in 7 over Milwaukee. We’ll see you in the NBA Finals. LFG Celtics.
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-Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)