The Boston Celtics are BACK! On Sunday April 11th the C’s had a huge win over the Denver Nuggets. Although it is no secret that Denver has a weaker bench, they have a lot of talented players. Morris and Campazzo are capable playmakers and Dozier and Nanji are young guys who play hard and defend well. JaMychal Green is one of my favorite veterans who is an incredibly efficient shooter and a guy who does a little bit of everything as a flex-forward.
The Celtics started out 1/15 from three and were giving up easy buckets on every defensive possession. Nuggets coach Mike Malone thought he smelled blood in the water and took MVP candidate Nikola Jokic out fairly early. The problem is, when the Joker is not on the floor, Denver’s offense falls flat especially when Jamal Murray is out like he was on Sunday afternoon (Prayers up for Jamal on a speedy recovery). He stilled tallied a triple-double but only totaled 31 minutes in the loss.
The Celtic’s went on a 31-3 run in the second half, could it have been because of Murray’s absence, Jokic’s lack of aggression, or their bench’s short comings? I think the outcome was probably aided by all three, but more importantly Boston’s aggression and their star player having a fire lit under him by a former Celtic. Kendrick Perkins laid into Tatum for his lack of aggression and Tatum has responded with a career high 53-point overtime win against the Wolves and a 28 point double-double against the Nuggets as well as a dagger three last night against the Blazers.
I think the biggest takeaway is Tatum’s free throw attempts, 34 in the last three games. The spike in attempts and rebounds really shows Tatum’s increase in aggression. Some seem to think that he does not have the “dog” in him and he seems to be on a trajectory to silence those haters… Thanks Perk. Many Celtic’s fans and media want to find a scapegoat for the Celtic’s stagnation… they want to fire Brad Stevens. I think this idea is idiotic, absolutely crazy. The Celtics have made the conference finals in 3 out of the 4 past seasons and their best player is 23 as of now.
How can the Celtic’s know for sure how to build or coach a team around Brown and Tatum when they are not even close to hitting their peak? Their destiny as far as what type of player they are is far from determined. Stevens and Ainge have helped the Celtic’s have immense playoff success with an incredibly young roster. Let us allow these players to mature and then evaluate how the organization builds the roster and rotation. Let us find out what we have, let Tatum and Brown develop and see how much “dog” they really have in them.
Boston is notoriously impatient when it comes to sports, but no matter how you spin it the Celtic’s franchise has two cornerstones who are absolute studs and younger than 25. We need to be patient and allow these players to develop and allow Stevens and Ainge to do their job along the way. There is no need to press the panic button, especially after a big win like the ones over the Nuggets and Blazers. There is only a need to keep giving the green light to the flamethrower that is Marcus Smart., keep shooting buddy....
On the other side of the TD Garden are the 22-12 Boston Bruins. I believe the Bruins’ situation is similar to the Celtics in some ways. The Bruins are also led by two incredible players, but these two are not younger than 25… they are older than 32. However, this does not stop them from being the B’s most effective players on the ice and in the locker room.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron along with young stud David Pastrnak make up the Bruins first line. They have 51 goals between the 3 of them, but after that the team does not get much help on that side of the puck. Ritchie, Smith, and Krecji are solid contributors, but the Bruins just made a deal at the trade deadline to bolster their lines. They were able to offload Anders Bjork who was a late draft pick who did not really see the ice a lot in Boston. Attaching a 2nd round pick to Bjork netted the organization Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar.
I think this is an incredibly savvy move by Sweeney and the organization. The Lazar part of the deal does not move the needle too much, but he is a tough-nose player that will give an identity to the Bruins 3rd/4th line which they desperately need. The blue chipper (sorta), Hall, is a former 1st overall pick and MVP. He has only made the playoffs 2 times, once with the Devils and once in a modified version with the Coyotes (maybe only 1.5 times).
Some think that losing follows this player, but I do not think this is the case. It is obvious that this guy has some problems off the ice in order to be shipped off by so many clubs, BUT let us evaluate the stature of these franchises… The Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Arizona Coyotes, and Buffalo Sabres have combined for 8 Stanley Cup Wins. If you remove the cups won with The Great one, Wayne Gretzky, and Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur, that leaves one championship between the 4 franchises.
These organizations currently are all plagued by mismanaged rosters and losing. Could this be because Hall wreaks havoc in the locker room or does not live up to his draft stock? Sure, but I think we should give Hall a chance to contribute to a historically well-run, winning franchise with a fantastic fan base. If the issue is immaturity, Hall is now 29 and will be joining two of the tightest collar veterans in the NHL, Marchand, and Bergeron. These guys are class acts and have managed to deal with Pasta’s antics off the ice.
For the price the deal is a no brainer, all upside. Could Hall return to MVP level play? Probably not but the best-case scenario is he plays well with Krejci on the second line and adds depth to the Bruins as a guy who knows how to put the puck in the net. Worst case scenario, we cut him and retain Lazar who would take on a bigger role. I cannot wait to see this guy on the ice with the Bruins and think he is going to be exactly what they need to set themselves apart from the bottom half of the East division. Hall looked like he is going to be a solid contributor with an aggressive 3 shots on goal during last nights overtime win against Buffalo.
P.S. Sox are rolling too kid
Boston sports are BACK!!!
All statistics taken from