The Surprise Team of the NBA Playoffs

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The Surprise Team of the NBA Playoffs

Jay Singh, Staff Writer

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The playoffs have finally started in the NBA. Every year, in the playoffs, there are aberrations. Some teams overachieve and some underachieve, but this year one team has stood out as the clear revelation of the NBA: the Boston Celtics. Let’s look at the Celtics’ season and what led to this huge surprise.

The Celtics started the season as the heavy favorite for the first seed and a championship contender. This changed after the very first game of the season, as Gordon Hayward was horrifically injured six minutes into the game. The Celtics were thought of as a team of the future when Hayward came back and their young players developed. But this was the first time                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               the resiliency of this team showed. They went on a 16 game win streak and became the best defensive team in the league. The Celtics eventually slowed in the wins column, but were still playing great basketball and were the second seed in the East. But their bad luck continued. Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, and Daniel Theis all received injuries. Only Marcus Smart had a chance to come back during the playoffs. The Celtics hobbled to the playoffs with the second seed.

The playoffs started with the Celtics facing the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were the heavy favorites in the series. Nobody expected the Celtics to win, except for the Celtics themselves. They bested the Bucks twice at home behind the play of rookie Jayson Tatum, sophomore Jaylen Brown, veteran All-Star Al Horford, and the emergence of “Scary” Terry Rozier. Despite the series lead, nobody gave the Celtics a chance at the series win, with most saying that the wins were just a fluke, or that the Bucks just played bad. These arguments gained even more fuel when the Bucks won two straight on their home court. But the Celtics nabbed a Game 5 win with the return of Marcus Smart. They then closed the Bucks out in the last game of the series. Boston was playing great team basketball, but the next team they were facing would need more than just team play to beat.

The Sixers were the next opponent of the Celtics. The “Process” had the last two number one picks in the NBA Draft, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, and next great NBA center in Joel Embiid. They were one of the hottest teams in the league, with a great offense and defense. The Celtics were again the underdogs, but they thrived on this. They demolished the Sixers in Game 1 and sneaked out a win in Game 2 after a 22 point comeback. They did this by harassing likely rookie of the year, Ben Simmons, into multiple terrible games. The Celtics then went on the road and defeated the Sixers in an overtime thriller. They again bothered Simmons into multiple costly mistakes and pounced on every mistake the Sixers made. The Celtics then ended the Sixers in Game 5. They continue to defy the odds, no matter what injuries or who their opponent is.

The Cavaliers are the current opponent of the Celtics. They possess the best player on the planet in Lebron James and have another perennial all-star in Kevin Love. Lebron James knocked the Celtics out of the playoffs last year, so this series is a revenge series. The Celtics started off the series with two wins on their home court, the first as a blowout and the second as a comeback. Although they lost Game 3, they still lead the series two to one. The Celtics have a high chance to make the finals without their two superstars.

The Celtics started the season with high hopes of an NBA championship until they lost their two best players to injury. Nobody would have said anything if this team just laid down and accepted defeat. But they didn’t; they fought and battled their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, which are happening now. They did this by shutting down some of the best players in the league. The ability of this team, despite the injuries, makes the Celtics the surprise of the year.

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