Don't look now, but...

The Celtics are positioning themselves to be a title contender this year-- without a trade. Here is what has been happening the last month.

  • Smart is shooting 42-of-93 (45.2 percent)
    This could just be a bleep in his stats, but for those paying attention-- Marcus Smart now is easily the Celtics's 2nd best point guard. While he can not break down defenders like Irving or Rozier, he is a gifted passer. The article states that on three of his attempts have happened with a defender within three feet. Which sounds like a negative, but considering Smarts history of having the sense of discrimination of a rottweiler puppy when deciding to take a shot-- this shows that he is getting much stronger at editing his game.

  • No sophomore slump for Jason Tatum
    Tatum is 55th in points per game. While that does not sound great-- he has averaged at least 16 points a game every month since the season started.

  • Jaylen Brown is back.
    In December, it seemed as if that Jaylen Brown's playoff run was a fluke. But Brown has turned his game around. In January all of his shooting percentages were up. FG 49.1%, 3P 41.8% and FT 73.2%.

  • Brad Wanamaker is this year's Shane Larkin.
    It is unlikely that Wanamaker will see any playing time during the playoffs-- but every time he has been pressed into playing more than 15 minutes, he has been solid.
While both Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier have gotten better as the season has worn on-- they are playing below expectations.

Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia all are much improved over last year. Getting out of the first round should be a lot easier with the Brooklyn Nets being the most daunting team the Celtics will face.

Toronto-- Boston leads season series 2/1
Philadelphia- Boston leads season series 2/0
Milwaukee- Boston split season Series 1/1

Toronto, Philadelphia and Milwaukee have all closed the gap between themselves and the Celtics. Toronto and Milwaukee maybe slightly ahead, but do not forget, the Celtics are drastically improved this year.

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