Seems to be like we’re dwelling in dreamland now.
The 4-0 journey has pulled Boston right into a digital tie for the second seed within the Jap Convention. Three months in the past, that might have been laughable, even to probably the most green-blooded Celtics fan.
But right here we’re. 9 video games to play and shutting in on homecourt benefit, and possibly extra. Dreamland certainly.
2. Jayson Tatum was named Jap Convention Participant of the Week for the second time in March on Monday. Then he went out and proved why with 36 factors, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. It was one other dominant efficiency in what will be an All-NBA season for Tatum.
These two performs show how there are occasions when Tatum is simply too good to be stopped. It is a pretty easy play, but it surely reveals how Tatum is aware of the Thunder don’t have anything for him:
On this play, Tatum is simply too large and too good for OKC to maintain him from attending to the layup:
It wasn’t an ideal sport, but it surely was excellent for what the Celtics wanted. And Tatum has been taking part in that method for the higher a part of nearly three months now.
3. With Robert Williams and Marcus Good sitting out, Ime Udoka known as on Grant Williams and Derrick White to step up, they usually each delivered.
Grant Williams set career-highs with 20 factors and 10 rebounds. He had it going so nicely, that beating the buzzer on the half was no shock:
Williams has struggled a bit with defending ballhandlers in current weeks. He did a reasonably good job on switches on this one. It is a good instance of staying in entrance of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after which giving a very good contest on the jumper:
Batman saves the day, proper? Properly, the Celtics Batman helped save the day down the stretch when issues bought messy late:
That play principally clinched the win for Boston, as Williams drained each free throws to account for the ultimate margin of victory.
4. Derrick White did a very good job replicating what Marcus Good does for the Celtics offense. He pushed tempo and stored the ball shifting. It is a good discover to Grant Williams in transition for the massive dunk and the and-1:
It’s been a battle from deep for White, however this was a assured pull in a spot the place Boston wanted to interrupt an OKC run:
It is a fairly decisive, robust drive by White. He’s bought a fairly good floater that he’s in a position to get to in robust spots:
5. Ime Udoka admitted that he had hoped to get deeper into his bench. Sam Hauser performed actual minutes, however Udoka caught with an eight-man rotation. When the Thunder rallied within the fourth quarter, Udoka needed to abandon plans to work Aaron Nesmith (again from damage) and others into the lineup.
So, whereas Marcus Good and Robert Williams kind of bought a relaxation day, not one of the different Celtics regulars have been in a position to cruise on this one. That could possibly be a little bit of a missed alternative.
6. Payton Pritchard is on fireplace proper now. In his final 5 video games, Pritchard is 18-of-31 from behind the arc. That’s a ridiculous 58.1%. And Pritchard isn’t simply making spot-up threes arrange by his teammates both.
It is a good shot by Pritchard on the catch whereas on the transfer:
Pritchard can be doing a very good job attending to his step-back jumper in opposition to mismatches now too:
On the day that Jamal Crawford retired from basketball, Pritchard paid homage to the King of the 4-Level Play:
Fairly good drive-and-kick from Grant Williams too.
7. The up-and-down, transition nature of the sport didn’t lend itself to a excessive help complete, however Boston nonetheless bought 22 dimes on 44 baskets. There have been moments of ball motion magnificence too. This was terrific, because the ball popped round earlier than Jaylen Brown drained a 3:
This was a pleasant drive-and-kick learn by Brown to search out Sam Hauser:
This was an impressive move by Jayson Tatum to Daniel Theis within the pick-and-roll for the and-1:
8. This sport bought messy for the Celtics at elements. The protection on Tre Mann within the first half was borderline atrocious. Boston let him dribble into jumper after jumper, as he dropped in 26 of his career-high 35 factors earlier than the break.
Within the second half, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander bought no matter he wished on the way in which to 31 factors. General, the Thunder shot 51.6% for the sport. This isn’t one the league’s greatest protection will maintain up for highlights. However you higher consider Ime Udoka and his employees will use it as a educating level for the way the Celtics don’t need to defend.
Possibly it was the mindset of “We already gained the journey” creeping in. Possibly everyone seems to be simply able to get dwelling. Ultimately, a win is a win, however this one was just a little messier than anticipated.
9. To the above level, it was good to see Jaylen Brown type of say “Sufficient” and attempt to put the sport away right here:
Very like Jayson Tatum, there are moments when Brown reminds everybody that he’s too good to be stopped.
10. The Celtics head again to Boston for 5 of their subsequent six video games. These are the ultimate 5 dwelling video games of the common season. That stretch begins with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
Following that sport, Boston has a uncommon three-day stretch with out video games. They’ll seemingly get a real off-day in there, adopted by a few practices. That’s enormous at this level within the season. Each the remainder and to get within the fitness center and work on some issues.
Of the ultimate 9 video games, seven are in opposition to playoff groups. But when the Celtics are who we expect they’re now, they’ll take this problem head-on to shut out the common season.