It’s almost become too much of a cliche at this point, but the Boston Celtics’ improbable journey during the season where they overcame internal discord, chemistry issues, a sub .500 record and somehow turned it around to become a title contender is mind blowing. This storyline gets even more unbelievable when you look at the road this team needed to take to even reach the NBA Finals.
Starting the postseason off, the Celtics would face the Brooklyn Nets, led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. We can analyze how this team was in complete disarray and that they weren’t at their best with Kyrie missing half the season. But these two superstars that have done it all in this league were outplayed and overmatched in 4 straight games to be the only team swept in the 2022 playoffs.
Advancing on to the Semifinals, Boston’s next opponent would be the Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing one key player, Kris Middleton. Nonetheless, they’d still have Giannis Antetokounmpo who is arguably the most dominant player in the league, but also being the defending champs, Milwaukee had the experience and depth to get by the Celtics even without Middleton. Being down 2-1 and 3-2 in the series, Boston fought back on the brink of elimination to win decisively in Game 7 at the TD Garden.
The reward for advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals was taking on the #1 seeded Miami Heat. Without home court advantage, this young Boston team managed to steal, not 1, not 2, but 3 wins on the road, including a Game 7 in Miami in which the Celtics almost gave it all away with a late 11-0 run where Jimmy Butler missed a go-ahead three pointer that would have likely sent the Heat to the Finals.
Despite all of this the Boston Celtics took on the greatest challengers in the league today, coming back from double digit deficits in some games, being down 3-2 in the Semi’s, and winning back-to-back Game 7’s. For any team, this is quite the accomplishment, especially for a group of guys who for the most part are under the age of 30 excluding Al Horford and Daniel Theis.
Did all this adversity and obstacles earn the respect and praise from ESPN and FS1? Nope. In fact, if you watch any national sports media, you would have thought the Celtics lost Game 7. Was that 11-0 run concerning? Yes, in the moment. However, we’re now a day away from Game 1 of the NBA Finals and that alone is something worth celebrating if you’re a Celtics fan.
While it would be great to see this Celtics team finally get some recognition, maybe it’s a good thing that no one is giving them a shot at winning the title against the Warriors who have been here 6 out of the last 8 seasons. Maybe it’s a good thing that a Boston squad who has no NBA Finals experience isn’t be praised and crowned kings of the East. Maybe it’s a good thing that for players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two emerging stars in this league, still have doubt cast upon them by naysayers who don’t believe this dynamic duo has what it takes to win it all.
A team as young as the Celtics need to be focused on the prize. They must also not get caught up in the moment. If Tatum is the next elite player in the NBA, he’s got to be locked in and know that to be like Kobe Bryant, it’s not going to be an easy road. The next two weeks will define legacies, but also write another chapter in Boston Celtics history.
Can this team win the championship? Will there be another banner hanging in the rafters on opening night next season? We’re about to find out!