Boston Celtics Playoff Preview

(Mark Duncan/Associated Press.)

(Mark Duncan/Associated Press.)

The Celtics have made a major leap and even if they do not have much of a chance of winning a title this year. They have excelled on both sides of the court this year ranking

The Boston Celtics have made major strides from last year to this year. They have risen from the 7th seed up to the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Last year they were slightly under .500 and this year they are on pace to win 50 games. Brad Stevens is becoming one of the best coaches in the NBA. They have cohesively brought together a fast paced game with elite defense and offense to become one of the upcoming teams in the conference. What exactly makes them so great?

Last year the Celtics were 12th in defensive efficiency, 20th in offensive efficiency, and 5th in pace. This year they have jumped to 4th in defensive efficiency, 11th in offensive efficiency, and 3rd in pace. The leaps they have made each year under Stevens has been tremendous, and those league ranks show potential for a deep playoff run possibly the Eastern Conference Finals, and they are doing this without any real star on their team. Isaiah Thomas has been a surprise to some and has been the catalyst for their offense. For whatever reason despite his tremendous season. Thomas is averaging 21.9 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, and 6.6 assists a game on 42.4% from the field. Per 36 minutes that is 24.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. Just in case there is any confusion on how impressive that truly is in 2010-11 the year Derrick Rose won MVP per 36 he averaged 24.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. Somehow though the large NBA community seems to be missing exactly what Thomas has been able to do. I was surprised he got the all star nod this year but he definitely deserved it.

What I find most intriguing is the fact they rank top 10 in 3 point attempts, but are 26th in 3 point percentage, which would worry me if I was a Celtics fan in the playoffs. They need to be efficient from that range, but even more so if you are going to take that many. The Celtics have so many facets to their offense they could be very scary.

Nobody is expecting the Celtics to win a title this year and they shouldn’t. The Celtics are doing an audition in my opinion. If they make noise in the playoffs that could be huge in recruiting Kevin Durant this offseason who has already voiced his opinion of being a Celtic which had Boston dreaming of KD in the green. They face the Hawks and I am honestly pulling for the Celtics because I believe Brad Stevens and KD are a perfect match. In this series though I believe the Hawks ability to hit 3s and shutdown teams is too much and I have the Celtics going down in a close game 7. That is okay though they just need to convince KD that he would be a champion here and all Boston needs is a guy like him to be put over the top.

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