The Celtics 2018 season has been officially underway for about two weeks now, but with everyone focusing on the 2018 WORLD CHAMPION Boston Red Sox and the 5-2 Patriots lately, the C’s have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle.
Never fear! That’s why ya boy Mattes is here to catch you up to speed.
Off the top, the Green are currently sitting second in the Atlantic Division and fourth overall in the Eastern Conference with a 4-2 record. (The Toronto Raptors are 6-0, sitting in first place in the division and tied for first in the conference with the Milwaukee Bucks. Kawhi Leonard is absolutely dominating, and our neighbors to the north could definitely be a problem this year.) Besides a very disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic last week, I’m pleased with our record so far.
However, the offense, until Saturday night, has been a bit lackluster. Besides Marcus Morris (more on him in a minute), the team has really struggled shooting the rock, especially from deep. Both Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving are shooting less than 30 percent from behind the arc so far this season, and as a team the Celts currently rank second-worst in offensive rating. After two solid showings to start off the year, Jaylen Brown also had a rough three-game stretch wherein he shot 19 percent overall before getting back on track with 19 points against Detroit two nights ago.
On the flip side, their defense has been top-notch, ranking first in the league with a very solid 96.73 rating. (Basically, this is how many points they should be expected to give up per every 100 possessions, and it is pretty much spot on with the 96.3 points per game they have given up through the first six contests so far.)
In fact, the D has been so good that Blake Griffin – who was off to a ferocious start heading into Saturday night’s contest (33.8 points per game through the Pistons’ first four games) – was held to just seven points by Jaylen Brown this weekend. Opponents are also only hitting 28 percent of their threes against the C’s this year, which is the No. 1 mark in the league.
So, to sum it up: the defense has been phenomenal so far, and the offense needs to pick it up.
Now, here are few other noteworthy bits from the team’s first half-month of action:
- Marcus Morris is now officially my new favorite player. I predicted he might very well ascend to such status during the preseason, when he was on a tear and making sure, through both his words AND his play, to set the tone for he and his fellow benchmates this season. Even though he’s technically coming off the pine, he’s currently second on the team with 14.3 points per game and shooting about 50 percent in terms of both field-goal and three-point percentage. This man is on an absolute mission this season, and there’s no doubt who the leader of the newly coined BWA is and will be moving forward.
- Gordon Hayward has been solid but unspectacular so far, averaging 11 points on 42 percent shooting through five contests. (He sat out the team’s game against the Knicks to get some extra rest). Most importantly, however, he does not seem to be having any ill effects from the gruesome injury he suffered last year.
- Another guy trying to make his way back into the rotation after a season-ending injury, Daniel Theis, exploded for 17 points in 19 minutes on Saturday night to go along with eight rebounds. His presence has been especially significant with Aron Baynes being out the past three games due to a hamstring injury. Once Baynes is back in action, the Celtics will have a pretty nice trio of bigs – the third, of course, being Al Horford – to use down low. (AND don’t forget about rookie – and 300s favorite – Robert “Bob” Williams and what he could potentially do, too!)
Again, it’s only been two weeks, so no need to over-exaggerate anything so far – either positively or negatively – as we still have a very long way to go. But, from what we’ve seen so far, I think Celtics Nation is going to be in for a good time this year, as expected.
That’s it for now. Be sure to keep checking in with The 300s for Celtics talk all season long!