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Are There Any Real Takeaways From The End Of The Celtics' Regular Season?

The Boston Celtics are sat on a float in a pool during the last week of the season. They simultaneously celebrated their seeding and prepared for the postseason. Doomer fans are having trouble discerning what is real and what is not. Zero free throws in a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks may appear alarming, and then two days later against the New York Knicks, not a single Celtics scored 20 or more points.

The last week of the NBA season is a double-edged sword for the best team in the league because they should be ramping up the effort to stay hot but instead, they are choosing to play soft to prevent injuries. The Celtics opted to essentially take the week off which invites a wave of media scrutiny.

Barkley`s Point

During the TNT halftime show of the Knicks game, analyst and legend Charles Barkley made an indisputable inquiry about the Celtics when they were down 69 to 48. Before the show, Barkley`s co-host and NBA legend, Shaquille O`Neal asked Barkley if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were going to play. “If they are (going to) play like that, they shouldn't play,” Barkley opened up with.

Chuck followed this statement up with a story about the 1993 Phoenix Suns. The Suns were the best team in the league that year with 62 wins, but they decided to take their foot off the pedal and rest players two weeks out from the playoffs.

The Suns would make it and lose in the Finals to the Chicago Bulls that year, but they lost two games at home in the first round. Barkley retorted that they did not get it going until the Western Conference Finals. The Celtics need to correct their approach because as Chuck would go on to say, “you just can`t turn it off and turn it on”. 

Queta, Pritchard, And More 

Over the last five games of the season, the Celtics have teetered in between the middle of the pack of the league in total rebounds per game. This deficiency can prove to be detrimental in the playoffs because the Celtics were outrebounded by 10 or more in losses to strong playoff teams in the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks.

Teams that have bruiser centers like Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid will surely out-muscle the Celtics` big men. However, the Celtics may have a secret weapon on the bench in Neemias Queta who has only appeared in 28 games for the Celtics but averages 13 rebounds per 36 minutes. Queta may be a rebounding x-factor for the Celtics for a game or two. 

This season, Payton Prichard has been an iron man for the Celtics, appearing in all 82 games. He scored 85 points over the Celtics` last three games. Undoubtedly, he has been the Celtic`s MVP during the last week of the season. As the first guard off the bench, Pritchard can catch fire and hit multiple threes throughout the playoffs. Although his defense does not compare to Jrue Holiday`s or Derrick White`s, he makes up for it with speed, shot-making, and a surprising display of strong finishes. Just like Queta, Pritchard will win the Celtic`s a playoff game. 

While not many to choose from during the last week, the takeaways from the Celtics have shown fans that the team is prioritizing health and has a trustworthy amount of bench pieces that can keep them in a game. The job is done which means that there is no reason to overreact to meaningless losses to the Knicks and the Bucks.

They have won the regular season with 64 wins and 18 losses. If there is any year to prove the doubters wrong, it has to be this season. The amount of scrutiny coming if they fail to do so will be some of the loudest reactions fans will display since Paul George hit the backboard in a playoff game. 


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