Assistant Sports Editor
The 77th NBA season is underway as the Boston Celtics start their season with three straight wins. Beating a healthy Philadelphia 76ers 126-117, the Miami Heat 111-104 and just recently, the Orlando Magic 126-110. These three teams entered their matchups with the Celticis looking to steal a win from a very uncertain team. However, that ended up not being the case, as the Celtics and their Interim Head Coach, Joe Mazzulla, made a statement in their first three games.
After falling to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, the Celtics are looking to get back to the finals and take home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Hungry and eager to make their already championship caliber team better, President of Basketball Operations and former Head Coach of the Celtics from 2013/14 - 2020/21, Brad Stevens, decided to make a bold move this offseason. That move was sending Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, Nik Stauskas and a 2023 first-round pick for Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers. Stevens was able to capitalize on the Pacers rebuilding their team and got away with just the player Boston needed. Brogdon is an efficient scorer, an elite defender and is one of only nine players to be a part of the 50/40/90 club. Trading for Brogdon was the beginning of a good offseason for the Celtics until it wasn’t.
In September, the Celtics organization announced that Head Coach Ime Udoka would be suspended for the entire 2022-23 NBA season. This came as a surprise to the whole NBA, and created trouble in TD Garden. Udoka would face his suspension and step down as the head coach, prompting Mazzulla, the hometown hero, to step up and become the interim head coach. Mazzulla walked away with his first win in the first game of the season and is ready to lead this team to greatness.
At the helm of this team are the Jays: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brown and Tatum are leading this team alongside Marcus Smart. These three are the longest tenured Celtics, and are even hungrier this season than the last. Over the course of these three games, Tatum has averaged 34.6 points per game while Brown averaged 25. They went back to their old selves from the finals with Brown being the efficient mid range shooter and Tatum continuing his ability to draw contact, yet finish the strong in the lane. Derrick White and Brogdon are key pieces to this Celtics team, too. Both can attack the rim and draw fouls, but they can also defend on the perimeter and in the paint. Brown and Tatum will have their down games, but the roster that Stevens built around these two stars can handle that. The Celtics were without their starting center, Robert Williams III, who will be out until at least the new year with a knee injury. The loss of Williams is evident in these three games. He brings a defensive energy and presence in the paint, the young shot blocking and rim defending Williams will be another key part in Boston’s success this season once he returns from injury.
As evident in their strong start, the Celtics look to continue being the team they were from last year. They are one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern conference, with the others being the Nets, Sixers, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. Although it's only three games of 82, the Celtics look ready to make another deep playoff run. Their next opponent is the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, where they look to continue their win streak.