(Photo Courtesy of CNN) “Jayson Tatum shoots against Brooklyn Nets.”
Is this the year for Banner 18? The Boston Celtics start the season with a bang, going 4-0. Thanks to the Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday trades, Boston is looking great so far in the early portion of the 2023-24 NBA season.
In their first two games against the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, Boston showed poise as they executed in crunch time, something they have struggled with.
Against New York on the road, star center Kristaps Porzingis had a monster game with 30 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks in a 108-104 victory. After trailing 99-93 with 4:10 minutes left, Porzingis hit a clutch three-pointer and two free throws to help Boston win the game. Superstar forward Jayson Tatum also delivered with 34 points and 11 rebounds.
In a rematch of the last two Eastern Conference Finals, Boston defeated Miami in a thrilling 119-111 finish in their home opener. After trailing 88-87 through the first three quarters, Boston took over in the fourth quarter, outscoring Miami 32-23. Point guard Derrick White came up huge for Boston with 28 points on 9/15 field goal shooting and 4/7 shooting from three. After a rough game against New York, forward Jaylen Brown bounced back with 27 points on 11/22 with a field goal shooting, including the game-sealing dagger three-pointer in the closing minute of the game. Point guard Jrue Holiday, Tatum, and Porzingis scored in double figures.
Boston was able to win despite Miami shooting 48.5 percent from three. The keys to the win were Boston outrebounding Miami 55 to 45 and outscoring them in the paint 52-36. For Boston, this is a great sign, showing they do not have to rely on three-point shooting to win games.
Going back on the road, Boston dismantled the Washington Wizards on both sides of the ball, winning 126-107. Boston’s dynamic duo dominated as Tatum had 33 points and Brown had 36 points. After a 42-19 explosion in the first quarter, Boston ran away with the game and never looked back. Also, the C’s outrebounded Washington 51-40.
Following that up, Boston dominated the Indiana Pacers at home in a jaw-dropping 155-104 win, their 2nd-largest victory in franchise history (173 points against the Lakers on Feb. 27, 1959). Boston scored 40+ points in the 1st and 4th quarters of the game. The Celtics defense did an excellent job, holding Indiana to just 13.5 percent from three (5/37). Once again, Tatum led the way with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Including the starters, Boston had eight players score in double figures.
The most important part was how their bench performed. Point guard Payton Pritchard had 15 points and nine assists, and small forward Sam Hauser had 17 points. Even third-string point guard Dalano Banton had 11 points in just eight minutes of action.
Boston is showing firepower on both ends of the court as they currently have the best offensive rating at 126.1 and the sixth-best defensive rating in the league at 105.7, per StatMuse. Tatum is averaging 29.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and four assists on 56.3 percent field goal shooting and 40.6 percent from three. Boston arguably has the best starting five in basketball, as Tatum, Brown, Porzingis, Holiday, and White are all averaging double-digits in scoring. Porzingis and Holiday have also helped contribute to Boston’s top-10 defense.
Boston simply looks unfair with the acquisitions of Porzingis and Holiday, and this may be the most dangerous Celtics roster during the Tatum and Brown era. Currently tied with the best record in basketball at 4-0, the league better watch out for these Boston Celtics.