After starting the season 0-4, the Boston Celtics find themselves back at .500 amid a four-game winning streak. It could easily become a five-game streak if the Celtics can beat a 3-4 Charlotte Bobcat squad tonight in Boston.
This team is certainly unique in many aspects. For one, they’ve been playing with an incredible energy for 48 minutes every night. These guys do not give up easily. And the recent buzzer-beater three by Jeff Green to beat the Heat is, at the very least, indicative of Brad Stevens’ command of attention in his first year as Head Coach. A prime example is that each player seems to be maximizing their talent in their respective roles.
When the streak began, Stevens moved Gerald Wallace to the bench, opting to pair Avery Bradley with Jordan Crawford in the backcourt. Historically, Bradley’s offensive game has been most dangerous as a catch-and-shoot guard. He can be a legitimate threat with the corner-three, or slashing to the hoop and catching a pass inside. Crawford too excels in these offensive categories, but he is also a far more distinguished ball-handler than Bradley. In the Celtics’ most recent win over the Orlando Magic, Crawford dished out 10 assists, displaying occasional Rondo-esque flare with his highlight-reel passes. If he can continue to be an effective distributor, the absence of Rondo will be alleviated, albeit marginally. Nevertheless, the guard play has been promising while Rondo rehabs.
The offense has also been picking up steam as of late. Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger have been thriving in Stevens’ offense, shooting for high percentages. The Celtics have been averaging about five players in double figures every night. That’s incredible. It’s also another example of Stevens’ command, insofar as it seems like a college basketball tactic.
If the Celtics can maintain .500 ball until Rondo returns, their potential for making the Playoffs jumps considerably. Granted if everything magically fell into place after Rondo returns, the Celtics are looking at a 7 or 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t make their draft prospects as sexy as fans would like, but it also makes them more appealing to Free Agents looking to be a useful puzzle piece, and also creates a world of opportunities trade-wise.
It seems like everyday, Brad Stevens says everyone (players and fans alike) need to take this season one game at a time. From the looks of things, the players have bought in; the display of effort is undeniable. Nevertheless, the Celtics seem to be exceeding expectations thus far. If they can win tonight, they will be over .500 for the first time this year.