2022 seems to be the year of epic turnarounds in the NBA. I recently wrote about how the Minnesota Timberwolves had changed their fortunes this year, and they’re not the only ones to have completed a surprising about-face.
The Boston Celtics, who found themselves with a 16-19 record at the end of 2021, which was accompanied with plenty of chatter from pundits about breaking up the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown duo, responded to that adversity by going 28-9 this year to push themselves to 44-28 and the fourth seed in the tough Eastern Conference.
At the heart of their success, of course, have been Tatum and Brown. They again showed their chemistry today against the Denver Nuggets, with both scoring 30 points in a blowout 124-104 victory. Both of them shot the lights out too, with Tatum going 11 of 17 while Brown made 12 of 19 shots.
Tatum’s confidence only continues to grow in his fifth NBA season, and he added another reel-worthy highlight to his resume tonight with a monster slam over Nikola Jokic. On top of this dunk, he also made 6 of 10 three-pointers.
Brown hasn’t been a slouch either, and this long ball under pressure was nifty to watch. To be fair, Brown’s actually shooting worse from three this year (34.2%) compared to last season (39.7%) while shooting at roughly the same clip of just over seven attempts per game. That hasn’t hampered his willingness to take them, though, and sometimes confidence is all you need for them to start going in.
The Celtics have a great chance to hold onto their fourth seed, too, considering that they’re 3.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls with ten games left to play. Their schedule isn’t the easiest, with seven of their last ten games coming against teams that are contending for the playoffs and play-ins.
However, in the form that they’ve been on, it’s hard to bet against them holding on to that top four spot.