Boston Celtics showed us something we haven’t seen for a long time

Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward Marcus Smart (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward Marcus Smart (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

Above all else on the west coast road trip, the Boston Celtics played with the heart we’ve all been waiting for.

Pigs are flying, hell has frozen over, and Marcus Smart is shooting 37% from three. That’s better than Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, and Jaylen Brown; on top of it all, if Marcus Morris Sr. continues to toss up enough bricks to build himself a mansion, Smart might pass him too.

There were a lot of uncertainties coming into this season for the Celtics outside of whether or not Smart could turn himself into a serviceable shooter: Could Jayson Tatum avoid a sophomore slump, how will Kyrie Irving bounce back from his knee surgery, and can Gordon Hayward return to who he was in Utah? At this point in the season, we have most of those answers; Jayson Tatum is still great, Kyrie is having one of, if not the most efficient season of his career, and we have seen real signs of Hayward regaining his true form.

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The foreseeable hurdles have mostly gone the Celtics’ way but It was what we took for granted that has tormented this team all year. To assume putting most of the guys who carried them through the playoffs in limited roles and expecting a seamless transition was admittedly foolish. But, in the wake of the latest road trip, those issues could be on their way out.

This trip was exactly what the Celtics needed and I don’t mean the warm weather nor the plane ride there. I mean this was an opportunity to exorcise their demons. The Celtics were going to be tested right off the bat by the defending champs and Kyrie was going to be given a chance to back up what he said after the first time around: “I mean, they had poise but they also got pretty lucky too”. That, mixed with revenge against the Lakers, a Gordon Hayward game-winner, and a chance to beat the Clippers who embarrassed the C’s not too long ago, I mean toss the Suns in there and almost all the season’s biggest missteps are forgotten in one fell swoop.

Absent the Clippers catching fire for nearly 62% from the floor, Boston could have gone 4-0 on the west coast. However, that’s easier said than done and I don’t want to take anything away from how well the Clippers played. Regardless of that last loss, no one should leave California with a sour taste in their mouth. This squad was supportive of each other and showed real fight from the moment they stepped in Oracle to the second they left Staples Center.

Next. Examining Marcus Morris' shooting slump. dark

The Celtics will return to TD Garden having won three of four, everyone is beginning to look like they’re on the same page again, and Kyrie even apologized to the media. I don’t want to overreact to just a hand full of games but I also don’t know exactly what happened on the plane ride to California and maybe I don’t need to. All I know right now is – this team showed the heart everyone has been dying to see.