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The Celtics Have Won 6 In A Row, This Time Claiming Toronto As Their Latest Victim

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics

OK I need to make this quick because there is no way I am going to be late for this post wedding brunch. As we approach the final games of the season, every one of these matchups is important, but few are going to be more important than how this team performs against the Toronto Raptors. We all know the deal. The Celts are within striking distance of reclaiming that top seed despite playing without their best players, and they still have one more H2H with TOR to go. However, none of that matters unless the Celtics won their game last night, and I must say, they turned in one of their better performances of the entire season. As much as Celtics fans will want to talk about how they aren’t really scared of TOR, let’s not act like they aren’t really fucking good. Add in that they were rested and had full health, it was going to take the Celtics playing essentially a perfect game in order to pull this off.

Well, they were better than perfect. I don’t know what that is, but that’s what we saw.

The Good

– We start with Jayson Tatum. With so many worthy of this top spot it was a hard choice, and at times like this I need to just go with my heart, and my heart say this kid fucking rules

24/6/4 on 9-16 shooting, in a game the Celts needed their best players to show up and produce, Tatum more than rose to the occasion. I love that he was second on the team in FGA and his approach was perfect. A total of 13 of his 16 shots came from the FT line or below. He was able to get to his spots at will, and the fact that Brad had him playing point guard just goes to show how versatile he can be. The confidence we’re seeing Tatum play with in this big moments against big time opponents has me feeling all sorts of things as we head into the playoffs. Remember when Hayward got hurt and we all said things like “this could be a positive because it will force Tatum to develop”. In reality we were just in denial and in shock from what happened. But as it turns out, that really happened! He looks so poised in big clutch moments already, that doesn’t happen if Hayward doesn’t get hurt. Tatum is going to be so good I giggle just thinking about it.

– A lot of people have stepped up in the absence of Kyrie, and few have been more impressive than Marcus Morris. Another 20+ point outing (his 4th straight), Morris was another guy TOR had no way of stopping

He finished with a team high 25/9 on 7-16 shooting. Not only was he unafraid to take dagger big momentum shifting shots, but he also showed up defensively, completely eliminating CJ Miles. That isn’t hyperbole either, he went 0fer on the night and a majority of that was due to Morris putting the clamps down on a guy that is one of the best three point shooters on TOR. If Morris was feeling any effects from his sprained ankle I sure as hell couldn’t tell, and it’s crazy what a ride it’s been watching Morris on this team. From screaming at our TV in anger when he wouldn’t stop shooting, to now screaming in jubilation as he hits dagger threes. As hard as it was to see Avery Bradley go, I think we can all agree that Ainge hit this one out of the park. Morris is a game changer for this team when he shoots like this.

– Make it 25 straight for Terry

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Not only is Terry developing into one of the best point guards on this roster, but he’s also better than Kyle Lowry now? Boy that has to sting if you’re a TOR fan to know that the Celtics 3rd guard would be the best point guard on your roster. The thing with Terry recently despite the scoring has been his inefficiency, well last night he went for 21/7 on 8-17 shooting. Given how good the guards of TOR are, I’d say that’s pretty damn impressive. Even though missing Kyrie hurts, watching Terry play this well is making it sting just a little less. Rozier got to the rim at will and actually finished which was great to see, and the confidence he’s playing with has me so goddamn giddy for the playoffs. If Playoff Terry is anything like Filling In For Kyrie Terry, this team is loaded.

I beg of you Danny, reach an early extension with him this summer.

– I got tweets that Aron Baynes made two threes in the first quarter while I was giving my best man speech and I thought I was being trolled. No way that was true I thought. Then I saw it

12/5 on 5-10 for Baynes? Against that frontline? Sign me the fuck up! Did you know the Celtics are now 9-0 when Baynes scores 12 or more points? Is he the secret key to this team? Am I still drunk off Kool Aid after watching him makes those threes? I am already telling my brain to not get mad at him in their next game when he takes a couple from deep. He’s earned it.

– Look the formula for this team hasn’t changed. When they defend, they win. Period. This is now the 6th straight game they’ve help a team to 100 points or less, and guess what, all have been wins. The Celts are a crazy 35-4 when holding teams to under 100 points. For those who aren’t the best at math, the Celtics have done this in now over half of their games. That is insane. Last night was just another example of great rotations, solid communication on switches, and just overall great defensive energy, something you need if you want to beat TOR

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One of the more underrated parts of how the Celts defended was the work they did on TOR’s second unit. We all can agree that the TOR bench would probably be a playoff team this year in the East, they are so lights out. Well last night they finished with just 20 points on 7-25 shooting. That was HUGE.

– The haters tells me Al Horford never shows up against good competition or a good front line. I’m confused.

– Obviously the offense (110 points 45/41% splits) was nice, but it’s even better when you look a little closer. Celts won the points in the paint battle 58-48 which was a surprise, as well as the second chance points battle 12-7. Add in the fact that they only turned the ball over 5 times FOR THE GAME, and this really was one of the best offensive performances of the season.

– The players deserve a large portion of the credit, but come on, what Brad Stevens is doing right now defies logic. He has his guys believing they can hang with anyone no matter who is available on any given night and it’s inspiring as hell. I will follow this man to the end of the Earth without hesitation.

– How about that fourth quarter defense though. 28-15? In a game that had been close the whole way, when it came time to put the clamps down and end it, the Celts were ruthless.

The Bad

– A rough night for Jaylen on both ends really. Offensively he was basically a non factor, and defensively DeRozan gave him all he could handle and then some. Had the Celtics lost this game it probably would have been a bigger issue for me but they didn’t so I’m choosing to basically ignore it. This is my blog and I get to make the rules.

– Everyone on the roster saw the floor but Yabu

– Maybe it’s just me, but I really wish the Celtics were forced to only wear their home whites when playing at home. It’s one of the most iconic jerseys in sports and for some reason it really bothers me when they switch it up. Don’t over think things, just give me the classics.

The Ugly

– NOPE!! We’re still on break from this until the Celtics lose, which may never happen. Those are the rules, I just follow them.

So we now move our sights to MIL. If the Celts win that game and TOR loses to CLE, then their matchup on Wednesday will be for 1st place in the East. Kind of crazy when you think of where both these teams were just a few weeks ago. This Celtics team is peaking at just the right time and as a result this Celtics boner of mine is going to make for a very uncomfortable flight. So worth it.

53 down 1 to go.