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It is no secret that the Boston Celtics have fallen short of their expectations thus far.
Fifth place in the Eastern Conference is not too shabby, particularly with the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers playing so well.
However, for the Celtics, it’s off the mark.
They are six games behind the Bucks, with the Brooklyn Nets four games behind them. The Celtics need to get it together in this second half of the season if they are any hope of securing the number one seed.
After their deep playoff run with such a young and inexperienced squad last year, they were predicted to be a top seed in the East this year.
However, the arrival of Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, the surge of form from the MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the addition of Jimmy Butler to the 76ers has made the race for top seed tight. Despite this, the Celtics have shown they are capable of beating these teams.
Last season, the Celtics beat both Milwaukee and Philadelphia in the playoffs without Kyrie and Gordon Hayward.
This season, the Celtics have beaten the top four teams in the East this year, and they still aren’t playing at their best.
The key to the Celtics finding their stride is through the development of their team chemistry and the leadership capabilities of Kyrie Irving.
Irving’s last two games have proven that he is capable of leading the young Celtics roster.
In the win against Toronto, he racked up 27 points and 18 assists and against the Memphis Grizzlies, he notched 38 points and 11 assists.
If Irving can keep these big plays up, he can inspire the squad and elevate their performances. Irving’s own performances are key to getting the Celtics top seed in the East – even though it is through the team’s chemistry that will take them through the playoffs and potentially into the NBA Championship.
If the team can perform anything similar they to last season’s postseason, while also benefiting from the addition of Irving and Hayward, they could potentially be the number one seed in the East.
Looking at their competition, even without hitting full stride this season, they were able to dismantle the 76ers, Pacers, and Bucks.
Boston’s real danger lies in themselves more so than with their opponents. If the Celtics can lockdown their chemistry and overcome their own internal issues, they would almost be a lock for the East. Considering their last two games, they are starting to look just a little bit more lethal.