Boston Celtics: 3 ways the C’s are eerily similar to the 2020-21 Suns

Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Boston Celtics head into this year’s playoffs on a roll, finishing the year with a 51-31 record, earning them the two seed after a tough start to the season.

Though being one of the best squads in the league since the start of 2022 should give fans optimism, there are also plenty of reasons for concern.

For starters, they play the Brooklyn Nets in the first round who are clearly much more talented than the typical seventh seed. In fact, before superstar Kevin Durant got injured in mid-January, they were the one seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Now, with KD fully healthy with a motivated Kyrie Irving by his side and you’ve got a first-round opponent who you would normally face towards the end of the playoffs.

On top of all this, it’s easy to recall how abysmal the Boston Celtics played in the first half of the season.

At one point this season, the Cs were simply trying to squeak their way into play-in contention. Many fans wanted the team to be broken up and sold at the deadline.

However, their fortunes suddenly turned after New Year’s, and those struggles became a thing of past.

Besides the sudden improvement in play and good trade deadline acquisitions, there’s a team from last season that this 2021-22 Boston Celtics resembles quite a lot, which should make fans extremely optimistic heading into the playoffs.

That team is the 2020-21 Phoenix Suns, the team who, despite a great regular season, shocked the basketball world by making the NBA Finals and losing largely due to an all-time Finals performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

That same Suns team is now title favorites this year (possibly a preview of next year’s Celtics?).

Here are 3 ways this year’s Boston squad is eerily similar to last year’s Western Conference Finals representative.

Why Boston Celtics resemble 2020-21 Suns No. 1) First round opponent

As mentioned before, the Nets are a very formidable foe for a seventh seed.

Similar to the Boston Celtics, the Suns were the two seed last year and faced an extremely strong seventh seed that was presumed to be a “superteam” in the Los Angeles Lakers. LA was led by two of the top players in the league in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which cause a lot of people to pick the upset.

While many people will still argue the Lakers dealt with significant injuries, the Suns, in theory, should have proved themselves enough to doubters by making the Finals.

I could see a similar situation playing out with the C’s as they take on the Nets.

Brooklyn is without midseason acquisition Ben Simmons, so it’s very likely that if they lose this series, a lot of people will say they would’ve won if fully healthy.

No matter if those excuses involve any amount of truth or not, the situations are strangely similar.