Celtics Recent Win Streaks Giving them High Ceiling in the Playoffs


Matthew Willar '22

Jayson Tatum shooting a free throw during the Celtics win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 6th.

Matthew Willar '22, Co-Editor

If you were to ask me in December of 2021 what the ceiling was for the Celtics, I would say a first or second-round exit. If you ask me now, I would say a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and may even argue a run to the NBA Finals. The Celtics have completely turned their season around as of late, and it is coming at the perfect time. 

The Celtics have dealt with a lot of injuries and players out because of COVID early on in the season. Jaylen Brown missed 13 games early on due to injury, and Marcus Smart missed an additional six games due to injury. Robert Williams III was also in and out of the lineup for a large part of the season as well. With the Celtics now at full strength since January of this year, they have been able to pile up wins and put themselves in the top six of the East, meaning they will be able to avoid the play-in tournament. 

A key factor to the Celtic’s recent success has been consistency. The Celtic’s core starting lineup consists of Smart, Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Williams III, who have all played in the majority of the Celtics games since January 31, 2022. With Smart in the lineup, the Celtics have a record of 15-2 since January 31. 

Another key factor to the Celtic’s recent winning streaks is their defense. The Celtics are the #1 defensive team in the NBA, with a rating of 105.6. Williams III is averaging the third-most blocks in the NBA with 2.2 per game, and Smart is averaging the fifth-most steals in the league with 1.7 per game. Williams III and Smart have even been put in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. 

Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka who is in his first year with the Celtics and first year in the NBA as a head coach has completely changed the Celtics defense to where it was last year. In this second half of the season, the Celtics offense has become more pass-first, allowing Tatum and Brown more open looks. Tatum recently tied Larry Bird for the most 50 point games by a Celtics player with four. This offense with the addition of Grant Williams impressive 3-point shooting season has been key to the Celtic’s wins. 

The Celtics went 9-1 going into the All-Star Break, and at the trade deadline, they acquired Derrick White from the Spurs and re-acquired Daniel Theis from the Rockets. These moves gave the Celtics a deeper bench and allowed them to get rid of some players who weren’t getting minutes. Trading away Dennis Schroeder and Josh Richardson has also opened up minutes for second-year player Payton Pritchard. 

With the Celtics playing at an elite level, this team has a very good chance to compete in the playoffs. The Celtics currently are the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. If this team stays healthy, I can see the Celtics making the Eastern Conference Finals, and possibly winning the East.