There are no NBA games to talk about and relatively no news on the Celtics either these days, but that means the highlight reel gets to run on a loop.
While practicing social distancing and hunkering down at home, I began to think about the top plays from the Celtics this season. There’s such a vast quantity of plays from just a single game that it’s tough to narrow down the best of the best.
There were a few that immediately jumped out in my mind and a couple I had to go diving for. What I came up with is not a comprehensive list of the best plays from the Celtics this season. I’m sure I missed some fantastic ones. But these are the plays that suck out to me and I hope I included a play that might not have been on your radar, so we can all say, “Remember when that happened,” or “I totally forget about that play.”
So in no particular order, below are some of the best plays that have already made this a memorable season and I sure hope there are more to come.
Jayson Tatum game-winning 3-pointer against the New York Knicks
This came just five games into the season before we all knew that Tatum would make the leap into a bonafide star. It was his first big moment of the season and proved to be some good foreshadowing of what was to come.
Here are some of the best plays from this Celtics season. Obviously a lot of Jayson Tatum, starting with this game-winning shot against the Knicks before he made the leap into superstardom. pic.twitter.com/NlHASl7S1X— Greg Dudek (@gdudek10) March 19, 2020
Jaylen Brown dunks over LeBron James
The Celtics were reeling a little bit, having lost three straight coming into this mid-January showdown at the TD Garden with the Los Angeles Lakers, but then Boston put together one of its biggest beatdowns with a 139-107 victory, highlighted by Brown’s slam over James. And while Tatum has grabbed much of the acclaim the past few months, Brown’s all-around improvement has him on the verge of stardom as well.
Tatum crosses up Paul George and sinks trey
I felt all the way back on Nov. 20 that this play signaled Tatum’s arrival as a star in the league. He went toe-to-toe with his idols in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and took the reins in the last seconds of regulation as Tatum dropped George to the floor with a crossover and completed the play with a game-tying 3-pointer.
Tatum dropping Paul George with a crossover and then burying a clutch 3-pointer was the signal that he was ready to be a star. pic.twitter.com/bsnEZBagQp— Greg Dudek (@gdudek10) March 19, 2020
Marcus Smart diving steal against the Clippers
The only way to describe this play is just Marcus Smart doing Marcus Smart things. Creating a steal, and saving the ball before it goes out-of-bounds and throwing the ball off Leonard’s leg to give the Celtics possession is a quintessential Marcus Smart play. I don’t think anyone else on the C’s roster could have pulled this play off.
Daniel Theis game-sealing block
Sharpshooter Trae Young should have the advantage in a one-on-one situation against Daniel Theis. But Theis held his own, sticking with Young after every crossover dribble as the game’s final seconds ticked away. Theis got just enough of a hand on the go-ahead attempt to preserve a 109-106 win and earned a heap of praise from Brad Stevens and his teammates for his monumental play.
Daniel Theis has given the Celtics more than probably anyone expected this season. Steady on both ends of the floor, Theis stayed with Trae Young before blocking the sharpshooter's attempt to preserve a win in early January. pic.twitter.com/hKAruLEBbQ— Greg Dudek (@gdudek10) March 19, 2020
Tatum levitates in double overtime
Just before the All-Star Break commenced, Tatum held his coming out party for the rest of the NBA in a double overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Tatum capped his 39-point performance with this sensational bucket, attacking the rim and hanging in the air before finishing through contact. It was the first time I had seen Tatum really defy gravity. And let’s not forget about Tatum’s superb defense on Leonard late in this win, too.
Tatum stars in Hollywood
There were many plays (insert one of his many step-back 3-pointers over Anthony Davis) from Tatum in this narrow loss at the Staples Center when he hung a career-best 41 points on the Lakers. But there’s just something about Tatum when he decides he won’t be stopped and can get to the hoop at will. Poor Alex Caruso got caught in a spin cycle and Tatum delivered another sensational finish around the rim. There’s been so many Tatum highlights that I could have devoted an entire post to his eye-catching plays. It really has been Tatum’s season as he has owned the highlight-reel.