How Celtics’ Win Against the Suns is a Step in the Right Direction

Drew Gray '23, Contributing Writer

How Celtics’ Win Against the Suns is a Step in the Right Direction

Yes, I know it may be hard to believe. The Celtics have been anything but consistent thus far this season. But, on New Year’s Eve, it was hard to dispute the passion and compete level that the Celtics played with.

In a blowout win this past Friday, Boston defeated the second best team in the NBA. Granted, the Suns were without standout center Deandre Ayton, but both stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul played the majority of this game. However, they were not enough to stop a team that appeared to be on a mission that afternoon. Following an abysmal shooting night against the Clippers (4 out of 42 from 3 point land), the Celtics played offense with a purpose.

Without Jayson Tatum, the C’s scored 123 points on 54% shooting and 37% from 3. They had 7 players in double figures including 3 off the bench, with significant contributions from Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams. And, to top it all off, center Robert Williams III had a triple double, with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, and 5 blocks. Williams III was doing it all on both ends of the floor, sending shots into the stands and putting back missed shots with dunks of authority.

Now, although this is just a singular game, I do believe that the Celtics have something they can build on here. Defeating one of the best teams in the league, not just by a few points, but not even allowing them within single digits for the vast majority of the game proves the capability of Boston when they play their best. The aforementioned issue is that this has not been sustained throughout the season, as they sit at a record of 17-19 going into their game against the streaking Orlando Magic. I believe that if they can play to the level that they did against Phoenix, that they can go far into the playoffs. The talent level is not the issue for the Celtics. Built around their young stars (Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum), the C’s have a strong core with a solid bench that can produce like they did in this game.

But, in order for them to be successful, they need to play at the compete level that they did in this past game. Many times they appear to play hard for some of the game, and when the 4th quarter begins, it can become isolation ball with Brown and Tatum, who don’t look for their teammates and consequently find themselves taking bad shots. So, by playing for each other and with a high compete level, Boston should find consistent success.