For a team that’s made two conference finals appearances in the past few years, things haven’t quite gone as planned for the Boston Celtics this season. The expectation was that they’d be at or near the top of the East standings and that Jayson Tatum would be blossoming into an MVP candidate.
But COVID safety protocols and other injuries have cost this squad significant time, and as a result, they’re currently fighting for their playoff lives as they try to keep a tenuous grasp on the eighth and final seed. And it hasn’t been all off-the-court stuff that has put them in this predicament.
The Celtics have looked listless and disjointed, unable to put together the consistency they need to make a real run at a conference title. The team’s heart and soul, Marcus Smart, thinks the answer is pretty simple.
Marcus Smart: “We gotta have fun again. We’re not having fun. We’re not playing with that energy, that same fire. That’s just what it is. We gotta pick it up. We gotta continue to try to help one another. Nobody said this was going to be easy.”
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) March 19, 2021
The Celtics have been playing .500 ball of late, winning just five out of their last 10 and clinging to a game-and-a-half lead over the ninth-place Bulls. As a result, the Celtics figure to be active before the trade deadline to try and address some of their lingering lineup issues. But as it stands, they’ll need to put together a pretty impressive turnaround if they want a shot at making some noise in the East playoffs later this spring.