While determining the NBA champion is bound to put fans in another thrilling ride, the battle in the Eastern Conference seems to be favoring one team: the Boston Celtics. 

Injuries are all across the East, and it’s on the best players: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (knee, day-to-day), Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers (coming off a knee injury), Julius Randle (shoulder, out for the season), and Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat (knee, out multiple weeks).

Beyond that, they got the Cleveland Cavaliers, who could be good, but are yet to win a playoff series together, and the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, two young squads whose cores are both first-timers in the postseason. Talent and experience-wise, all three are clearly inferior to the Celtics. So, can you say cakewalk?


Here’s how much Boston dominated in the regular season:

As the top-seeded team for pretty much the entire year, they compiled the best overall (64-18) and home record (37-4) in the league, and is a very close second in away games (27-14). 

For context, the Celtics had 14 more wins than the second-seeded Knicks (50-32). It’s a huge gap, especially when compared to the bottleneck out West, wherein the no. 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder (57-25), was only 10 games ahead of the 9th and 10th-seeded Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors (46-36).

That trend continues in statistical categories as the Cs are either first or second in points, three-point field goals, three-point percentage, two-point percentage, rebounds, turnovers, and opponent field goal percentage.

Of course, there’s also that mighty starting five. 


Frontcourt: Jayson Tatum (26.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.9 APG), Jaylen Brown (23.0 PPG), Kristaps Porzingis (20.9 PPG, 1.9 BPG)

Backcourt: Jrue Holiday (12.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 42.9 3FG%), Derrick White  (15.2 PPG, 5.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG)

The frontcourt is elite as Tatum is one of the best players in the league, Brown can be a number one option in many other teams, and Porzingis is a top-caliber stretch big man and reliable shot-blocker. The backcourt is on the same breath as Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are quite possibly the best defensive guard tandem in the NBA – Holiday is regarded by his peers as the smartest and most tenacious defender there is, and White is getting up there too, as evident in having 1.2 blocks per game despite only being 6’4.

Adding to that is the diverse second unit, led by veteran stretch big man Al Horford, point guard Payton Pritchard, and sweet-shooting Sam Hauser, who can all boost the lineup they are in.

Toughest competition is themselves

As cliche as it may sound, the Celtics really play like they can only be beaten by themselves. They have all the tools on just about every aspect of the game, and it’s not like they are short in experience to suddenly get fazed. These guys have been through the ringer–Holiday even has a ring–so mental fortitude is there. Lightwork seems to be ahead of these Celtics, but we shall see over the next couple of weeks. Their fans aren’t relaxing one bit, especially since they just saw their team blow a 30-point lead to a Trae Young-less Atlanta Hawks team just a month ago.