The late rise of the Celtics means nothing more than a final trip

Marcus Smart # 36 of the Boston Celtics reacted during the first quarter of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Round 1 Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on April 17, 2022.
(Photo by Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

By the end of January, the Boston Celtics were 25-25 under first-year head coach Ime Udoka, and things weren’t looking good for a team that had reached the Eastern Conference finals in three of the previous five seasons.

But then something clicked for vodka and its people.

They discovered that they could really annoy opposing teams by slowing down and playing breathtaking defenses, and with the play of rising superstar Jason Tatum, these two qualities made them arguably the most popular team in the NBA in the second half of the season.

The Celtics finished second in the Eastern Conference, and they humbled Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets into a first-round play-off series that some expected to be very competitive.

Boston then knocked out defending champions Milwaukee Box in the second round, even after trailing 3-2 in the series and had to win an in-check competition in Wisconsin in Game 6.

The Celtics have a tremendous run, but no one will take it seriously until they reach the NBA Finals.

Heat vs. Boston, but it won’t be easy

In the Eastern Conference finals, Tatum and his friends are battling the Miami Heat, a squad that doesn’t have a real, full-fledged superstar but is done by the committee.

They have Jimmy Butler, who is prone to a fault but plays like a superstar in crunch time and is seemingly irresistible in such situations.

Many, if not most, experts are choosing Celtics to win this series, where one can say that the heat can be a bit disrespectful.

In the first half of Game 1 in South Florida, the Boston defense was on display, making the hit uncomfortable while turning missed shots and errors into quick-break scores.

But Miami turned everything upside down in the third quarter, going 22-2, and due to an impressive play by Butler, Miami, Bintown never recovered at a rate of 118-107.

Given that the series consists of two defensive-minded teams that are not offensively effective or quick break teams, this is probably a knock-down, drag-out issue where neither team will be able to create or retain any real momentum.

It will probably come down to which team has more perseverance, perseverance and resources.

Celtics measure success by only one thing

Much like their arch-rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the hits, the Celtics measure the success of the World Championships.

They are one of the few sports teams who do not hang banners of conference or division championships, they do not even think about them.

The team needs to reach the final, at the very least, and gain a strong fight against the Golden State Warriors or the Dallas Mavericks to earn true respect across New England.

Otherwise, its defenses and tenacity will fade compared to those led by Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce-Ray Allen nearly a decade ago, or the three titles that the Larry Bird-centric teams of the 1980s picked up at home.

If this Celtics team doesn’t get the job done, it obviously lacks one or two missing parts.

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