(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
We’re getting to the finals, no question about it.”
This quote from the Celtics young star, Jaylen Brown, displays the tremendous amount of confidence Celtics players and fans immediately gained after coming 1 game short of reaching the NBA Finals. The ensuing offseason did nothing but reassure their confidence with Lebron’s reign as “The King” of the East over as he headed to the bright lights of Hollywood. Not only was their main threat GONE but the Celtics have their two-star players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, returning to the lineup for a full season. Las Vegas Odds forecasted the Celtics as the FAVORITE to win the East along with the 2nd best odds to win the NBA Title.
The obvious assumption was that with the return of their stars they would easily rise to the next level and compete for a championship, and with these odds, the Celtics felt invincible.
Not so fast my friends, not so fast.
The Celtics started out the season with a disappointing 10-10 record, sending Celtics fans everywhere whimpering into their closets. This team was lacking patience, effort, and were getting straight-up outplayed night in and night out. The Celtics were experimenting with many different lineups in an attempt to maximize the immense talent this roster had, but this led to a season full of extreme highs and extreme lows. Then, the experimenting finally started to yield much-anticipated results with the Celtics winning 9 of their next 11. Veteran Celtics leader Al Horford said, “I think going through this has made us stronger because if we were winning, all of the underlying issues would still be there, but now they have been addressed thoroughly”. Little did he know, this was only the beginning of their roller-coaster season.
This word has been the storm looming behind the hills for the Celtics all season long. As the calenders turned from 2018 to 2019 the same inconsistencies continued to plague this team. They go on stretches with beating the leagues best team on great shooting and ball movement to losing to the leagues bottom feeders (sorry Knicks fans) with horrendous defense and no energy. Not knowing which Celtics team you were going to get on a nightly basis took its toll on the team.
The NBA’s new Television show: Keeping Up With Kyrie Irving
NBA media sources always look for drama around the league, and with the Celtics struggling, they turned to Kyrie Irving for the answers.
The only issue? He didn’t have the answers.
As NBA fans, we all expect the leader to help get their team through struggles and adversity, so when he blamed their struggles on his young teammates the media had an absolute field day with him. Kyrie said,” Playing with the expectation that every day you have to be great. These are some of the things that some of my teammates haven’t faced. If they think it’s hard now, what will happen when we’re trying to get to the Finals?” Although he is looking out for the benefit of his team, the media twisted and turned his words to create false headlines such as “Kyrie Irving Isolates Himself From The Team”. Turning a group of men into a team is already such a difficult job, and with the media continuing to pile up on their issues the Celtics season looked as if it was spiraling towards the dumpster.
For the next month, the Celtics suffered losing streak after losing streak, and things would only take a turn for the worse. The fact that Kyrie Irving’s name kept surfacing in reports of leaving the Celtics didn’t help their struggles at all. Not only were they struggling but everyone around the league started to make the consensus that the Celtics were better off without Kyrie on the floor. All of this drama made the life of the Celtics absolutely miserable.
There are always two sides to every story.
The media will always, ALWAYS post a more controversial, negative story that creates drama than a positive story about team chemistry. Ever since the rumors about Kyrie leaving the Celtics, the team has made tremendous progress to create a family atmosphere. The Celtics consistently have enjoyable 3 point shooting competitions at the end of their practices to finish off hours of hard work they put in.
Celtics Hit Their Stride At the Perfect Time
The Celtics traveled to California preparing to take on the NBA’s number one team, the Warriors. The Celtics would go on that night to demolish the Warriors with a score 128-95, but what will be lost in the sea of NBA news is the plane ride to the Oakland. Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward all agreed that the plane ride helped the team relax and forget about all of the outside drama. Little moments like these are the type that has completely changed the mindsets of this youthful team.
This Celtics are regaining their confidence at the perfect time with the playoffs looming. The Eastern Conference is loaded with talented rosters but this Celtics roster is good enough to defeat any team in this league in a seven-game series. With all of this said, this seasons success rests on the back of not one sole player, but this team as a whole.
This team has taken baby steps towards achieving their goal of an NBA Title, but it’s time to grow up, put on their big boy pants and eat with the men. Once they do, good luck stopping them.
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