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5 Questions For The Celtics Post All-Star Break

Joe Mazzulla and Jayson Tatum are part of the Boston Celtics questions.

The Celtics have been dominant this season and remain extremely focused on their goal of winning a title. With incredible talent and results many consider the Celtics title favorites. However, even great teams have questions and uncertainties attached to them. Let’s dive into 5 questions surrounding the Celtics post all-star break. These questions will be key factors for the Celtics’ ultimate goal of a championship.

5 Questions For The Celtics Post All-Star Break

Can They Close Out Games?

While the Celtics’ clutch time stats are quite solid, closing out games remains a real concern. For years late-game scenarios have been Boston’s fatal flaw. Forcing up three-point shots, poor timeout management, iso-heavy possessions, and going completely cold offensively have been central problems for the Celtics down the stretch. These have been on display in several losses this season including against the Nuggets, and Warriors. Late game breakdowns need to be improved upon especially come playoff time. With a roster this talented, these problems are unacceptable improvements start with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finding better shots. Furthermore, Joe Mazzulla needs to implement a little more offensive structure late in games. Ultimately the Celtics’ ability to close out games will be one of the most important factors for their title chances.

Has Joe Mazzulla Learned Enough?

Joe Mazzulla’s improvements from last season are clear. He has implemented a new versatile defensive attack, activated Kristaps Porzingis’ two-way game, and gotten more player buy-in. Mazzulla has clearly benefited from a year of experience and an improved coaching staff. However, are these improvements enough come playoff time remains a fair question. There is no denying that Mazzulla’s lack of experience hurt the Celtics last year and his end-of-game management is still an issue. A possible rematch against Erik Spoelstra is where Mazzulla’s experience would be the biggest factor. For the Celtics to win a title Mazzulla needs to continue being the coach he’s shown us this year and not revert back to bad habits.

Will The Shot Diet Balance Out?

It feels like I am beating a dead horse here but the Celtics shot diet is one of the most important stories of their season. Currently, the Celtics rank first in 3-pt frequency but last in 2-pt frequency while ranking 27th in shots at the rim. Personnel-wise the Celtics have elite finishers throughout the roster so generating more rim pressure would be logical. The Celtics don’t need a massive change but closing the gap between 2 and 3-point shot attempts would greatly benefit the team’s offensive balance. A balanced attack will help the Celtics be less predictable, especially in the playoffs. However, we are 56 games in and the Celtics’ shot diet has stayed the same so it’s possible it won’t change at all. Regardless, monitoring if the shot diet changes and how it impacts the Celtics winning will be interesting.

Will Tatum’s Playmaking Continue to Elevate?

Tatum’s improved playmaking has been a noteworthy story this year. Tatum is averaging a career-high 4.8 assists per game. While his raw numbers show slight improvement as a playmaker the eye test shows that Tatum has taken a huge leap. He has gotten much better at reading the floor, kicking to the corner, and passing out of the pick-n-roll. In February Tatum is averaging 6.6 assists a career-best number for any month. If Tatum’s playmaking stays at this rate or improves more the Celtics will become an even more dangerous matchup. Tatum will also earn more individual recognition and awards.

Is Porzingis The Difference Maker?

For years the Celtics have been on the verge of a title and Porzingis has proven to be the perfect fit. Porzingis unlocks a new element for the Celtics on both ends of the floor. He gives the Celtics an elite post-up and lob threat as well as incredible versatile defense. Porzingis has proven to be immensely valuable and the Celtics aren’t the same team without him. The question isn’t about Porzingis’ impact which has been stellar and more about what series will he flip in Boston’s favor. Furthermore, health always remains a question with Porzingis. From what we’ve seen a healthy Porzingis makes the Celtics the best team in the league but will it all come together in the playoffs? If the Celtics can win it all Porzingis will be viewed as the ultimate game changer who finally allowed Boston to get over the hump.

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