After the Boston Celtics traded away Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo, many NBA analysts predicted that the Celtics would not be competitive and would be a team not fighting for wins, but fighting for a higher pick in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Boy, how things have changed. There are certain professional sports teams that have a lure and an aura about them which create an immediate psychological advantage against the opponent they are facing. The Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA World Championships and have a basketball history which is only matched by the Los Angeles Lakers. When opposing teams walk onto the hallowed parquet floor and stand under the shadows of championships banners and retired player numbers, there is no choice, but to feel intimated.
The 2014-2015 version of the Boston Celtics did not come into the season with high expectations, even in the weak Eastern Conference. However, with a few weeks remaining in the season, the Boston Celtics are battling for their playoff lives and trying to slip into the 7th or 8th spot in the East. Mathematically speaking at the moment, the Celtics have the best chance of securing 8th place in the East which would create an interesting first round match-up with the Atlanta Hawks.
In a league of stars and marquee players, The Celtics vs. the Hawks would be an intriguing first round match-up as both teams lack a dominant franchise star that most of the other playoff teams have in their lineups.
The Boston Celtics have faced the Atlanta Hawks three times this season and are 1-2 with the most recent loss coming in December at the TD Garden.
The Celtics are displaying a fun brand of basketball in which they are sharing the ball as a team, playing hard and using a high-octane fast-paced offense which involves a lot of three point shots.
The trade which brought Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics really gave the team something they were sorely missing in a player who is able to create their own shot off the dribble with the ability to be a go-to player in the 4th quarter. Thomas has a feistiness and aggressiveness about him which is rare in a guard who only stands 5’9, and that is with his sneakers on.
It doesn’t seem right when the Celtics and the Lakers are not in the NBA Playoffs. This season, the Lakers excluded themselves from playoff contention many months ago, while the Celtics are hanging on by a thread, trying to sneak into the backdoor of the playoffs. No one expects the Celtics to advance very far in the playoffs, but it is important for a young and growing team to gain playoff experience and learn how to win and lose, under the brightest of lights.
March Madness brings craziness to college basketball, but this April is surely going to be a wild ride in the NBA to see which teams between the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and Indiana Pacers will secure the 7th and 8th seeds in the NBA Playoffs.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.