Boston Celtics: How can the team change momentum going into the playoffs?

Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

Can the Boston Celtics make a turnaround ahead of the playoffs? 

Nobody knows what to expect from the Boston Celtics. When they are locked in and communicating on both ends, they can become one of the premier contending teams in the NBA. But the problem is that Boston does not often play together.

There seems to be disengagement on the defensive end that leads to teams running them off the floor. As the Celtics continue to fight for a playoff spot and avoid the play-in tournament, it is time to change the momentum on their side to end the season.

Early in the season was an understanding of the Celtics’ struggles. Different lineup rotations because of injuries, there was never enough time for the roster to build chemistry with one another. Because of that, the Celtics have seemed to play catch-up ever since. Even with two all-stars on their roster, there still hasn’t been a rhythm set in place for the team.

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If Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren’t delivering high-scoring games, there’s not a guarantee that the Celtics will pull out the victory. The team’s third option, Kemba Walker, has not been in a groove himself due to his health.

Take for instance Friday night’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. With a 32-point deficit early in the first half, Tatum had to put on an offensive clinic in order to bring the Celtics back into the game. Although Tatum finished with a career-high 60 points, the performance only resulted in a three point win in overtime.

Yes, Boston was able to flip the switch, but things would be better if they did not have to find themselves in trouble early.

As Boston looks to close the season on a high note, it almost looks impossible to flip the switch this late. A top seed in the East is far from their direction but can build momentum based on how they play these last few weeks. Brad Stevens has been on the hot seat in the midst of Boston’s inconsistencies. Anything short of an NBA Finals appearance is a failure for the Celtics. There are two keys that must change in order to have a deep playoff run.

A key for the Boston Celtics: Defense

The defensive end is the main priority of Boston. The team has to put more effort on that side of the ball and communicate with one another. When a team has great defensive players in Marcus Smart and Tristan Thompson, there has to be a better effort on that end.

Boston is ranked No. 10 in defensive ranking, which is very surprising, considering their struggles on the season. Regardless of what they have displayed this season, Boston has great defenders on their roster. It’s a quest to figure out how to allow the rest of the players to match the same intensity on that end.

A key for the Boston Celtics: More Production

Another key is getting better production from others. The Celtics made a trade for Evan Fournier to provide more scoring on offense. Along with Fournier, the Celtics have also gotten great production from Smart, two rookies Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams, and others. These are all players who can match their unique style next to Tatum and Brown and have an efficient night.

Great production from role players will benefit Boston in the playoffs. Regardless of seed, the Celtics’ experience can push them far depending on how they get the best out of their teammates. If everyone can become a star in their role, fans can expect a deep run in the postseason for Boston.

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In conclusion, things may look sloppy for Boston but it’s not too late. As Tatum and Brown continue to lead the way, the rest of the Celtics should match their energy. A possible turnaround towards the end of the season can benefit Boston depending on how disciplined they can be.