When all of their starters are healthy, the Celtics are a scary prospect. They picked up impressive wins against what are considered to be the three elite teams this season: Milwaukee and the LA teams. Against Milwaukee, they used all of their depth to mount an incredible comeback win early in the season, a win which helped scare off some of the Giannis demons from the previous playoffs.
The next time they met, even incomplete, the Celtics managed to fight neck and neck throughout and suffer only a 5-point loss. If they wish to win the title, the Giannis-led juggernaut is an obstacle they have to overcome, and based on what we saw this year, they have a better chance than last year, when all the locker room turmoil eventually caught up to them against the Bucks.
However, what makes things complicated for them are the current standings in the east. Should the playoffs start now, the 3rd seed Celtics would have to face the 6th seed 76ers, who are in that position only because of their struggles with injuries to key players. This unexpected break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, makes things very interesting by allowing the Sixers to recover. That match-up would be a serious problem for the Celtics, given that the Sixers got the better of the C’s on multiple occasions this year, with Embiid proving to be an unsolvable puzzle for the relatively short Celtics team.
Having said that, this hiatus also helps when it comes to star point guard Kemba Walker’s health. He’s had troubles with his knee all year long, and time off is sure to help in that regard. However, one worry is that the hiatus came at a time when Jayson Tatum was on a tear and picked up the form of his life. It is never welcome for that kind of streak to be prematurely stopped in its tracks.
If everything turned out fine for the Celtics, and they manage to get out of the east, they would match up quite nicely with the LA teams, maybe not in star power, but certainly stylistically. They split their match-ups against both of those teams, and haven’t looked out of depth in any of those games, even securing a blowout win over the Lakers, completely crushing them in every department. For now, we will have to wait and see how all these unprecedented developments will affect the Celtics. One thing’s for certain, if they stay healthy, and avoid the Sixers in the first round, they are bound for a deep playoff run.