Usually, for the post-game analysis, I like to get nerdy and look at specific plays, players, or areas of the game and try to dissect what went right or wrong. But sometimes, you need to take a step back and admire the bigger picture, soaking in the fun-filled vibes wherever possible.
That’s why today’s analysis is going to be a little different. In fact, it’s not really analysis at all. Instead, it’s a celebration of how freely the Celtics are playing right now, and how easily they got whatever they wanted, be it out of isolation, off-ball cutting, or spot-up shooting.
Just one week ago, Jaylen “Black Panther” Brown was having his worst slump of the season. Fast forward to the Celtics' final game of their west coast road trip, and he’s taking guys off the dribble in transition and then finishing with a statement statue dunk. Was the Thunder’s defense almost non-existent? Yes. Do we care? Not at all.
Brown is playing with a new spring in his step and has unleashed multiple big dunks in recent weeks. If we’re going to get this version of Brown in the playoffs, then we’re in for a fun and memorable ride!
Grant Williams has predominantly been a spot-up shooter this year, offering floor spacing from the corners and a solid defensive presence. But confidence is a funny thing. Right now, he’s playing like he owns the court and everybody else are kids from the neighborhood and he’s letting them get a run in.
Suddenly, Batman is an off-ball menace, happy to operate as a cutter from the perimeter or duck-in for a post-up opportunity. And we can’t forget the multiple dunk attempts Williams had in this game, as he looked to build on some recent good performances. Interestingly, the Tennessee native was also struggling last week, but is suddenly the darling of Celtics fans, and has provided us with some fun content to keep the vibes flowing in recent days.
There’s been no stopping Jayson “Vision” Tatum on his recent hot streak. The Duke alum is controlling the pace of the game, choosing his spots, and finishing at an elite level from every section of the floor. But the above play was just insanely indicative of the talent gap between Tatum and the Thunder roster.
Not that Oklahoma City doesn’t possess talented players, but just that they’re still developing and aren’t at the requisite level to pose difficult questions for Tatum to answer. I don’t know about you, but it was the around-the-world reverse lay-up off a eurostep that got me out of my seat on this play.
It’s just far too smooth. Maybe we need to do former Cartoon Network nicknames for this roster because Tatum has to be Johnny Bravo!
I like this set because it shows Payton “Quicksilver” Pritchard’s growth as both a screener and off-ball threat - things that Udoka recently noted in a post-game press conference. So when we get to see the sophomore guard flash both of his shiny new skills and drain the subsequent three, what else is there to do but feel a joyous affinity to yet another homegrown talent strutting his stuff.
One of the best things about Daniel “Captain Marvel” Theis, is his versatility in the pick-and-roll. The veteran center can be the popper, roll-man, short-roll facilitator, veer screener, or re-screener - talk about adding value!
We all knew that when the Celtics added their former big man back to the rotation, one of the best things about the acquisition was how Theis already knew how to accentuate his new/old teammates' talents. And on the above play, we see exactly what we’ve come to expect from one of the more reliable rotation players the Celtics have at their disposal.
The above play from Derrick “Ironman” White isn’t anything spectacular. I didn’t select one of his assists or a play that shows his quick decision-making. No, I literally chose a clip of the newest member of the Celtics shooting and draining a three.
Why? Because the veteran connector has been on a biblical-level dry spell, and seeing a three fall will hopefully open the floodgates. Obviously, White was acquired to be more than a spot-up shooter, and his value comes in different ways, but most Celtics fans were probably relieved to see some of his shots fall on Monday night.
Poor Al “Captain America” Horford. He’s having an amazing season but it’s rare that he does anything to get your heart racing. Steady and reliable - that’s what the veteran big man gives you, and in his own way, every pass, rebound, or bucket is a highlight. I genuinely hope the Celtics keep him around for next season.
I was going to add a clip for Sam “Hawkeye” Hauser but wasn’t sure how well-received a blown layup would be - even if it is cool to finally see the sharpshooting rookie take the first two-point attempt of his professional career.
Ok, I lied. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. So here’s Hauser blowing the layup.
After all the trials and tribulations that the early months of this season brought us, it’s a great feeling to see the Celtics finally firing on all cylinders, and playing off of each other on every possession. For most of us, we’ve watched the majority of these guys develop from raw rookies to viable NBA rotation pieces - or better - All-Stars.
Whatever the remainder of this season brings, including the playoffs, we can finally rest assured the team is on the right track and everybody from players to coaches to front office members are all on the same page about what type of team they’re trying to develop. Now don’t mind me, I’m off to find fifteen glass slippers.