Though he may be the third option in the pecking order for the Boston Celtics, if the team wishes to dethrone the Milwaukee Bucks as the east’s top-dog, the shamrocks will need a healthy Jaylen Brown.
Heading into the season’s resumption date set for July 30th, the Boston Celtics find themselves placed within the upper echelon of 2020 title contenders. Along with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Toronto Raptors, ESPN has recently ranked the shamrocks fifth on their title favorites list.
Frankly, this should come as no shock to anyone who paid attention to the NBA this season. With a core consisting of All-Stars Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, arguable All-Star snub Jaylen Brown, former All-Star Gordon Hayward, and do it all guard Marcus Smart, the shamrocks have become one of the most menacing teams in the entire association, and their place in the league’s standings backs it up.
Heading into the Disney bubble, Boston is already guaranteed a spot in this year’s postseason. Boasting a record of 43-21, the Cs are currently placed third in the Eastern Conference standings and fifth in the entire association. They are 5-2 against the East’s top teams and, moving closer to the return date, are viewed as Colin Cowherd’s “dark horse to win it.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 13, 2020
Recently we did a brief analysis of how the Boston Celtics faired against each team ranked within ESPN’s title favorites list and, in turn, discovered that they possess an above-.500 record in said matchups (5-4).
Two of said matchups, of course, came against the presumptive favorites, the Milwaukee Bucks, where their season series finds itself currently split at one game apiece.
When looking back on those games, it’s interesting to think of how well the Celtics managed to play, even without their third-leading scorer Jaylen Brown in the lineup — out due to illness during their October 30th matchup and a thumb injury during their mid-January outing.
In their early-season matchup, the Cs bested the Bucks 116-105, while their latter outing saw Boston fall to the tune of 128-123 both while seeing Kemba Walker outshine everyone on the court (averaged 36 points, 4.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds, on 50 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from deep).
All in all, the Boston Celtics outscored Milwaukee by a combined total of 239 to 233, and they managed to do so while seeing their lead dog Tatum (17 points) and key cog Hayward (seven points) combine for 24 points on just 30 percent shooting from their field in their last matchup where they lost in the final minutes by a mere five points (128-123).
Had Brown been eligible to play in this second matchup, it’s quite plausible that the shamrocks would be coming into the bubble leading the season series two games to none over the Eastern Conference’s current kings and, thus, could see them placed higher on a majority of power rankings.
As we said in our analysis piece from last week:
Should both squads be fully intact — each outing, the Boston Celtics were without Brown and the potentially perfect defensive assignment for Giannis, Robert Williams while the Bucks had their core ready to roll — we at the Houdini see no reason why, should the two teams meet at some point in the postseason, it can’t be a competitive series that could realistically see either side come out on top.
With the way they’ve played against them throughout this year, adding a 100% Jaylen Brown into the mix could be a massive boost for the team in their efforts to dethrone Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. as the top team in the east.