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Who’s stopping Boston? Dissecting the Celtics’ juggernaut after their dominant season

Who’s stopping Boston? Dissecting the Celtics’ juggernaut after their dominant season

There has been a level of dominance the Boston Celtics have had this season that not a lot of teams in the history of the league have reached or come close to. The team’s mixture of star power, depth, and chemistry within the tight-knit group of guys has been the source of power for the historically dominant regular season team. 

In their March 17 game vs Washington, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday, and Al Horford combined to destroy the Wizards, 130-104. Bench player Sam Hauser, who started the game, led the team in scoring with 30 points built on 10 three-point shots. 

Then on their next game, in came Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and Kristaps Porzingis, who then annihilated the Detroit Pistons 119-94 on the second night of a back-to-back. Another bench player, Payton Pritchard starred with 23 points and 7 assists as the Celtics earned yet another win. 

This speaks to their depth as a team as well as the adaptability of each player to play with either of their core six guys with relative ease and without skipping a beat. The Celtics are a machine that keeps going with pieces and parts that are versatile enough to keep their brand of basketball going no matter who you sub in or slot onto the floor whenever someone is out.

With their dominant regular season coming down to a close, one question awaits the rest of the league as the playoffs arrive. 

Who is stopping the Boston Celtics? 

The guys in green have been far away the best team in the league by a wide margin, racing past ahead of all the other teams.

The Celtics just speedrun through everything, especially in the East, where they were far away the best team and are just cherry-picking to wait and see whoever will finish second behind them. The only disappointment thus far was not winning the In-Season Tournament title, which probably wasn’t the championship they wanted to win anyway.

They have the league’s best record at 64-18 and they never lost more than two straight throughout the year. They blew out three teams by 50 or more points and they have only lost four games at the Boston Garden, and have only just lost to an Eastern Conference team at home for over a year – since March of 2023. The only team to win two and claim the season series over Boston are the defending champions Denver Nuggets, which makes sense considering they’re the team all teams in the NBA are chasing after.

The Celtics will be the only team that will finish in double-digits in plus/minus efficiency (+11.3) and they rank 1st in offensive rating (120.4) and 5th in defensive rating (110.5) in the entire league. This level of dominance in the regular season makes it one of the most impressive ones in recent NBA history.

The Boston Celtics might go all the way this year and take that coveted 18th championship title, but what makes them so good?

'The Jays' superstar duo: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown 

The Celtics start and end with their star forward duo. They would not be near where they are right now without these two. The way they complement each other and play off of each other has been spectacular, and their chemistry has been built since 2016-2017 when Boston drafted both guys back to back with the no.3 pick. With the Celtics having two dynamic two-way guys in Tatum and Brown, they have the foundation to allow them to surround the team with guys that complement their skills, which president Brad Stevens and coach Joe Mazzulla have done an incredible job of doing so over the past couple years.

Roster construction

After trading away mainstays Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams this season, Brad Stevens built the roster with some awesome replacements in Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.

Porzingis just fits the Celtics’ scheme so much as he gives them a stretch big that can space the floor for their 5-out offense. On defense, his towering 7’3 frame can alter and block shots. Porzingis is also the perfect Al Horford replacement who has been key to the lineups the Celtics run in the previous years. Although Horford is now 37 and is nearing the end of his career, he's still bringing that veteran leadership and the floor spacing to give the Celtics more options on offense.

Holiday’s transition into the team has been seamless, filling in the place of Smart. A 2022 champion with the Milwaukee Bucks, Holiday brought the championship mindset along with his trademark defensive versatility and a plug-and-play offensive repertoire that has elevated the Celtics’ play all season long. 

Around Tatum and Brown and their new acquisitions Porzingis and Holiday, the ever-consistent Derrick White and the ageless Al Horford come into place to complete their starting five and their fearsome six-man lineup. Solid bench pieces led by Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser provide quality backup minutes to ensure Boston does not lose a single step whenever their mainstays rest during the games. Depending on the matchup, big men Xavier Tillman and Luke Kornet will see some minutes and both have proven they can play the style of basketball the Celtics need to win. Overall, this team is arguably the best the Celtics have in years, and they have all the makings to have a deep playoff run.

However, Boston knows the job is not done yet and the real test is at hand. No matter how good they have been in the first six months of the year, it all comes down to how they will perform and execute in the season’s final three months when it matters the most. And they certainly hope they can reach the pinnacle again and this time, come out on top in June.

To further strengthen that point, it isn’t a guarantee to win all the time, especially in the playoffs. Although it is an indication of good habits built throughout the season, the playoffs are a different beast. According to NBA.com, only five teams in the last 20 years had the best record winning the title that season. The last best-record champions were the 2016-17 Warriors as teams deal with a variety of challenges throughout the postseason. 

As the road to the 18th banner looms close, the Celtics have themselves as their biggest obstacle – only they can stop themselves from achieving their full potential. 



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