Last night the Celtics dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in their own arena. The final score ended up 140-99 in a complete game, winning every quarter. No surprise that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were leading the way, scoring half of the team’s points. With just five games left in the season, the Boston Celtics trail the Bucks by two games. In addition, they have a comfortable two and half-game lead over Philidelphia for the 2nd seed.
After a shocking defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards, it was a great bounce-back performance. The Celtics seem to have learned their lesson, which is not to overlook any opponent, an important lesson going into the playoffs. Only time will tell how much the Celtics have grown this season. Boston cannot afford any slip-ups at this point of the year, with just five games to go.
Boston Celtics Send a Message to the NBA
The Boston Celtics have a generational talent in Jayson Tatum, who scored 40 points against the Bucks. Not only was the volume there last night, but the efficiency as well, knocking down 8/10 threes. Being an elite scorer was not the only thing Jayson Tatum did, though, grabbing eight rebounds and taking care of the basketball with no turnovers.
The league’s leading scorer with 2146 points on the season has continued to improve as the year progresses. While last night’s victory was important in setting the tone for the rest of the season, Tatum did not seem to want to dwell on it. In a quote from his post-game press conference, he said, “Forgetting about tonight. You know the game is over. It happened. We have a game tomorrow; we talked about it in the locker room; they all count as one.”
Maturity is the word that comes to mind from watching the Boston Celtics post-game press conferences. Whether it was the veterans like Al Horford or the star players in Brown and Tatum, there was no complacency following the big win. Al Horford talked about how determined the Jays looked last night, referring to Brown and Tatum, stating, “They had a different look in their eyes.” That is something that all Celtics fans want to hear going into the playoffs.
The other half of the best duo in the NBA, Jaylen Brown, was sensational. He went off for 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Jaylen Brown has stepped up big time whenever he has been needed, and recently it has been every game. This led to Brown being named NBA Player of the Week alongside Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans.
Having an additional elite scorer on the floor has helped create one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. The Celtics have won four out of their last five games in blowout fashion. In his previous five games, Jaylen Brown has averaged 28.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, and 4.0 apg.
Going into the playoffs, the Celtics will need great performances from both Brown and Tatum to win championship number 18. With Jaylen Brown’s ability to be a three-level scorer and ball handler, it is going to be tough to keep him off the score sheet any given night.
Job Not Finished
Now that most of this Boston roster has tasted NBA playoff success, they have one goal in mind. Win the championship, and the job is not finished until the trophy has been lifted. Everything is falling into place at the right time for Boston, who have stayed relatively healthy throughout the season.
The next five games will be crucial for the Celtics in building momentum. The Bucks will host the Philidelphia 76ers and the Memphis Grizzlies in their last five games. Trailing by only two games, the Boston Celtics, with the win last night, now hold the tiebreaker over the Bucks. If the Celtics win out and the Bucks lose two of their last five, Boston will be the top seed in the East.
Home-court advantage is nothing to scoff at in the NBA playoffs. Last season, Boston beat the Bucks in seven games, and because they were the higher seed, they hosted the deciding game. Now that Joel Embiid and James Harden are both back and healthy, Boston needs to hold at least a second and secure home court for as long as possible.
Looking Ahead for the Boston Celtics
Next up for the Boston Celtics is a home game against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz currently sit only a game and a half outside the playoffs. This means that they will travel to TD Garden hungry for a victory. Boston cannot afford another letdown like the game against Washington.
Staying focused and prepared will be key in finishing out the regular season. Joe Mazulla has not glorified any of the Celtics’ play this season. Mazulla has constantly looked for ways to improve in every area of the game. The team has adopted the same mentality and will now be a more mentally tough team in the postseason than last year.