The Boston Celtics have reached a new level, and so have their fans. The three-month hotline was contagious, spreading throughout TD Garden and New England. Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz there was a qualifier-like hype in the middle of the first quarter. Veteran striker Jaylen Brown, who finished with 26 points, is enjoying running, but also cautioned not to get too busy for now.
Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics not only win, they blow everyone up
It’s been three months since the Celtics, who have gone from mediocre to one of the most intimidating teams in the NBA. With only eight games left in the regular season, the Celtics are playing their best basketball as the post-season approaches.
Brown and Jason Tatum each scored 26 points Wednesday night as the Celtics beat the Jazz 125-97. It was Boston’s fifth straight win. In 1.5 games, the Celtics took first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics started out on a 4-0 run on the West Coast, finishing exactly where they left off, and blasting off early against the Jazz in front of a raucous crowd from TD Garden. Boston has won 10 of the last 11 games and 21 of the last 24. Not only have they won, but they are doing everything they can to do so.
They have won their last 10 matches by an average of 16 points. Three of the last four wins have been by 20 points or more.
“The guys are confident, they play free and they play together,” said Year 1 coach Aimee Odoka, according to ESPN. “I think we all feel there is another level we can reach.”
Jaylen Brown is still confident, but also remembers early struggles
The Celtics have made a complete transformation. In their first 50 games, they blew out a massive lead and watched their frustration mount. They went 25-25 during this stretch.
Now, they play their best basketball. In fact, they probably play the best basketball of any team in the league.
“That’s crazy, isn’t it? Game after game,” Brown said, according to CLNS Media. “I feel like that was so cool for us, we just had to put whole extensions together. I knew the energy was about to shift. So I’m glad we’re here now.”
They are only 1.5 games behind the leading East Miami Heat. Brown knew that if they hadn’t blown those big leads earlier this year, they might have been number one.
“A lot of the games we blew up in the first half of the season – it was good to win some of those games because we’re going to be number one now,” Brown said. “But everything happens for a reason. We take it one game at a time and we will see where we are at the time of the match.”
As confident now, Brown knows how quickly things can change. He keeps that ugly start to the season fresh in his mind and uses it as a reminder.
“It wasn’t long ago when we were at the bottom of the east,” he said. “We can’t forget that.”
Brown and Celtics appear to be legitimate competitors
The thoughts of the Celtics becoming the best-seen in the Eastern Conference would have generated nothing but laughter before Christmas. The team could not find itself. The Celtics have shown promising signs, but they have also shown a lack of mental toughness.
Now, they’ve put it all together under the leadership of Udoka, and shown that it’s no accident. The Celtics featured a nine-game winning streak just prior to All-Star Weekend. Although they looked great during this stretch, there weren’t many believers. Since that winning streak, they’ve gone 12-3. It’s a very good sample size to determine that they have detected things.
The playoffs were once a legitimate question mark. Now, the Celtics are the legitimate contenders for the title.
Brown said he still takes things “one game at a time,” but he knew what this team was capable of even during the ordeal of the first season.
“Everything takes time,” he said. “Everyone wants things to work right away, but the new team, the new coaching staff, you know kind of work through some things. A lot of adversity at the start of the season. I missed 15 games. We had people with COVID. A lot of things were happening. Now, we kind of have it under our feet, and things are going much better for us.”
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