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Not Only Did The Hospital Celtics Kick The Shit Out Of An Opponent (Again), They Made Some NBA History Along The Way

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

Ho hum, the Hospital Celtics once again do what they do and kick the shit out of another opponent. Granted I'm pretty sure even your typical men's pickup league could kick the shit out of the 11 win Wizards and the 12 win Pistons, but hey I'm not complaining. It took 80% of the schedule, but the Celts are finally in a nice stretch where they are playing all the bad teams that everyone else got to play this year so I apologize for nothing. 

Last night was just their 27th game against teams under .500 (an NBA best 26-1), and looking around the East, the Bucks have had 29, the Cavs 31, the Sixers 32, the Magic 31 etc. Only the Knicks (27) have had as few as the Celts among the top 6 seeds when it comes to playing shitty teams, so now is just the time for the Celts to get their licks in. 

The thing is, none of these games really mean anything at this point if you care about the standings. The Celts woke up today with a 10 game lead over the 2 seeded Bucks, and a 6.5 game lead over the Thunder for the best record in the NBA with 14 games to play. Add in the Celtics have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA (30th), I'm thinking those leads are safe.

Instead, this final stretch of the season is really only about one thing. Getting through it healthy. That means there are going to be a bunch of games where the Hospital Celtics will get the nod and will be tasked with the challenge to keep the wagon rolled. The good news is the Hospital Celts might be their own type of wagon, which is pretty awesome to think about.

Sunday night, without Jaylen, Porzingis, or White, the Celts won by 26 points. Monday night, without Tatum, Horford, or Jrue, they won by 25 points. Can we stop pretending like that's normal?

Last night marked the 32nd time in 68 games that the Celts have had at least a 20 point lead. That is good for 47% of their games, so just think about that for a second. We basically have a coin flip as to whether or not the Celtics will have a 20 point lead in a game whenever they step on the court. Not just win, but be up by 20+. That is as insane as insane gets. 

Before we dive in, we also have to address what else happened last night. Just like yesterday, prepare yourself for what your body might experience when you read this tweet

Holy fuck.

That is what I immediately said upon seeing this information. Never in my life did I ever think I'd see a Celtics team actually pass the 2017 Warriors in anything. They were the super team of all super teams. And yet, look at that picture. It has happened. 

So what does this mean? Pretty simple. We are either witnessing one of the greatest teams to ever exist in NBA history OR we are witnessing one of the greatest choke jobs in NBA history. That's it. That's what is at stake from here on out. Personally, I love the pressure. I embrace the pressure. The pursuit of a title should have high stakes, and I'm struggling to find how they could be any higher as the Celts continue to bullzone anything and everything in their path and make their way up the scoring differential list. 

Alright, I'll give you a minute to clean yourself up and then we can dive in. 

The Good

- Welcome back. You know, it's only fitting that on a night when Derrick White (#9) recorded his first ever triple double, that it came on a night when another certain #9 just so happened to be in the building

There has been a lot of cosmic shit that's gone on so far during the Celts season, and to me, this is another thing to add to the list. Derrick White had played 407 regular season games and 53 playoff games in his career, and yet it wasn't until Rondo (#9) was in the building that he went full Rondo and had a 22/10/10 triple double of his own? Come on, something's up.

In a game without Jayson Tatum, that of course means everyone else is going to have to go up a level and be aggressive. For White, that means doing what he does best and shooting without hesitation. I want you to watch those highlights again and really look at how quick and assertive Derrick is when it comes to his jump shot. For him, that's what makes all the difference in the world. It's when he takes an extra second and thinks about it before letting it fly that he tends to struggle. But when he grips it and rips it? You get a performance like this.

For the Celts to win the title, they need Aggressive Derrick. Him being an efficient scoring threat is what makes this version of the Celts seem so much more devastating. The talent is there, and now that his role is defined and he no longer has to worry about coming out or if he's allowed to shoot, it's made all the difference in the world. There's a reason why Tatum & Co keep publicly taking about what a difference it makes when Derrick is aggressive. Just compare what we're watching now to 2022 Finals Derrick, they aren't even close to the same player.

Then you add in what he's giving you on the defensive end, which is 1st Team All Defense level of play, and we're at the point now where there is not a price Brad shouldn't pay when it comes to his extension. Sign the blank check, pass it over to Derrick, and tell him to fill in whatever the fuck he wants. This guy needs to retire a Celtic

Giphy Images.

- After getting his rest day on Sunday night, I was interested to see if that would do anything to Jaylen's rhythm. The guy has been on such a heater since the All Star Break, there was a part of me that feared the rest day might finally be the thing that slows Jaylen down offensively.

Silly me, the guy is still extremely locked in

How locked in? I dunno, you tell me

If you'd like to see the averages summed up, I'd be happy to provide them

11 games: 29.1/6.1/35/1.2 on 54/41% splits with 2.8 3PM and 1.5 TO a game

There's a lot to love about the graphic above. Personally, I still focus more on the TO column, but how about the fact that there are only 2 games on that list of over 35 minutes? Having that type of production over his last 5 games, all while playing 34 minutes or fewer is pretty ridiculous, and the efficiency of course speaks for itself. 

We saw all the time that everything with this team starts at the top with their two best players in Tatum and Brown. Well, what we are experiencing is what things look like when both guys lead from the front. You want to know why the Celtics are an NBA best 26-1 against the dogshit of the league after years of underachieving and bad losses? Because their two best players are focused. There is no screwing around, no overlooking the opponent, any of the shit that would get them in trouble.

When the best players flip that switch and show up on both ends of the floor, it's contagious. It sets the standard for the rest of the roster, and we're seeing the results be reflected in their record. 

It was also nice to see Jaylen finally get back to 75% from the line. For me, that's the bar I need him at. You give me 50/50/75% and I'm a happy camper.

- In a season filled with the Celtics making NBA history, I would like to add yet another achievement to the list. Think of the greatest three point shooting teams to ever grace the NBA. You'd probably pick some iteration of the Splash Brother Warriors right? Not a bad pick given what we all lived through.

Well, what if I told you the 2024 Celts have done something that not a single Warriors team ever accomplished?

Again, think of how ridiculous this is given what we saw the Celts do these last two games. One night you sit Jaylen/KP/White and you still make 20+ 3PA. Then the next night you sit Tatum/Horford/Jrue/Hauser, and you still make 20+ 3PA. That shouldn't be possible. You shouldn't have games where you're sitting 3 or 4 of your best three point shooters and lose absolutely nothing in terms of 3P production. What other team in the league is doing something like that?

Considering a total of 0 teams have ever made 20+ 3PM in 4 straight games, I'm going to say not a single one.

We really shouldn't ignore the heater the Celts are currently on from deep since the ASB. Not only do they lead the NBA in 3PA at 42.2, they are averaging more than 3 3PM a game than the #2 team in the league. The Celts are making 18 3s a night since the ASB. 18!! Oh and the best part? As a team, they are shooting 43.0% in these 13 games. 

As you can imagine, that goes along way to explain their +18.2 +/- during this stretch, which dwarfs the next closest team (DEN, +10.2). When the Celts are shooting like this, you really don't stand a chance. This is easily one of the best shooting stretches we've ever seen, and all I ask is that we get this level in a few months. If that happens, I think we'll all like how things shake out.

- The beauty of this roster of course is that if the 3s don't fall, that's OK too. Why? Because of our beloved 7'3 basketball unicorn

No big deal, just a little 20/8 on 7-14 (5-9) for Porzingis in his 21 minutes after missing the last 5 games. I dunno about anyone else, but to me it didn't look like KP missed a beat. That's great news because if rest doesn't get him out of his rhythm, I'm ready to put him on ice the rest of the way. Give him 15-20 minutes here and there over the next 14 games, but I've seen enough. He's healthy, he's locked in, and he is the true difference maker for this team once we get to the postseason. 

Again, it's not as if the Pistons had anything close to a player that could give KP problems, but what team does? If this season has taught us anything, it's that a healthy KP gets whatever he wants. He's too fucking tall and is a matchup nightmare. If you go big, he takes you out 35ft and drains threes in your eyeball. If you go small on a switch, he punishes you. There is no defensive solve for him. Can't go zone, can't go man, can't double or trap because he can see over everyone, it's incredible.

- Yet another game with 30+ assists and under 10 TOs while nearly scoring 120 points and shooting nearly 50% from deep (22-49). This is it. This is peak Mazzulla Ball folks. 

The Celtics are 19-2 this season when they finish with at least 30 AST. They are 17-3 when they finish with under 10 TOs. So what does that tell us?

Basically what we already know. When this team moves the ball and takes care of the ball, opponents cannot reach their level. It's the games where they move away from those things that they get themselves into trouble, especially the turnovers. But if they find themselves in a game where they limit the self-inflicted wounds, especially the kind that lead to transition and fastbreak points, they sure are tough as hell to beat.

- One of the best parts of this little mini-series against the worst teams in the league is it allowed us to fully experience Pro Am Payton Pritchard. You know, the guy who goes out and drops 90 points and looks unstoppable. This is what that looks like in NBA form

No Jrue Holiday? No problem. The night after he dropped 13 dimes against the Wizards, this version of Pritchard was asked to be a scorer and he responded with 23/2/7 on 8-14 (5-9) and only 2 TOs in his 37 minutes. You put Pritchard on the floor with fringe NBA talent and it's as if he immediately morphs into Steve Nash or some shit. 

It's wild that Payton Pritchard has been shooting 39.6% from deep since the ASB and that's basically the worst on the team of any rotation player. You know how many players would dream of being a near 40% shooter on 4.1 3PA a night? On this roster, that's the worst shooter of the group. Make that make sense.

- If you're looking for someone who get wildly excited and make insane comparisons with Jaden Springer, you came to the right place. This guy? I know where I've seen this before

The answer is Young Avery Bradley. Not the Isaiah year's Avery, but the early stages Avery Bradley from 2011 or 2012 when he was 21-22 years old like Springer currently is. The ball pressure, the energy, the toughness, we've seen this before

Not only that, but Springer even has the Young Avery Bradley broken jumper. At that stage of his career, nothing Avery threw up ever had a chance of going in. He shot 34/0% as a rookie and 40/31% as a 22 year old. You knew the shooting had to come around, but the defense was absolutely NBA ready and impactful.

Is that not what we saw from Jaden Springer last night? His 3pt shooting is a disaster, that shit isn't even close, just like Avery. But defensively? You can feel his impact, just like Avery.

- I've made it clear that I do not care who it comes against, if the Celts hold an opponent to under 100 points, they deserve recognition for that. Since the Nuggets loss on 3/7, the Celts have held their opponents to the following point totals: 107, 99, 107, 112, 104, and 94.

As you can imagine, they've won all 6. 

The Bad

- I am becoming fascinated with the severe lack of buckets that come with Oshae Brissett minutes. It's incredible. What makes it so interesting is I LOVE everything else he does on the floor. I truly believe his OREB skills are a weapon, and his energy on the court makes a difference.

But for the love of God, the guy might have the worst layup package I've ever seen. It doesn't matter what he does, he cannot finish around the rim to save his life. It's the perfect example of a million dollar move with a 10 cent finish. He gets by his defender no problem, but once he gets to the rim it's like he loses all his basketball ability. I truly am fascinated by it. The thing is, it's been this way all year! It's not like this is just a rut, he's shooting just 68% at the rim! 

We saw it on display last night with his 1-7 showing and one of the more perplexing shot charts of the year

Just an extreme lack of buckets. I can't stop looking at it.

- Nowhere near enough minutes for Jordan Walsh in this game for my liking. Only 4:09? That is not what these games are for. I get wanting to reward the end of bench guys with minutes seeing as how they've had to sit all year, but give the people what they want Joe! If the Celts are in a blowout and Walsh is with the team, his developmental minutes are more important.

We see the flashes in these limited spots, all I ask is over the final 14 games, let us see some extended run. We've reached the perfect part of the schedule for it. Play Walsh with some starters on certain nights, let's see what it looks like. Why not? 

Because as it stands right now, even in his 4 minutes he barely gets passed the ball because the end of bench guys are looking to finally let it fly after all their DNP-CDs. Cool for them, but not what I want to see in blowouts. I want to see the kid.

- Look, the lead got as high as 29, it was pretty much over after the first quarter, we don't need to force things. We can move on.

The Ugly

- Per the rules of the blog, we're done here until the Celts lose again! See ya never!

Alright, now the fun starts. As great as it was to see the Celts pummel the worst teams in the league, tomorrow brings a very different challenge with a healthy and motivated MIL team coming to the Garden. The last time these two teams played each other, the Celts were on a B2B and 5 in 7 nights and the Bucks had 4 days off at home to prepare. The result was one of the worst ass kickings the Celts have experienced all year. While the game means absolutely nothing in terms of the standings, that does not mean it's a meaningless game. Anyone who suggests otherwise is full of shit.

All games against "contenders" from here on out are important. You don't really make a statement by blowing the doors off the Wizards or Pistons, but you can make a statement by beating a healthy and rested Bucks team who apparently has "figured everything out". Show up tomorrow and handle your business and it's smooth sailing the rest of the way.