Once the 2022-23 NBA season kicks off on Oct. 18, the Boston Celtics are going to be one of the teams to beat.
Last season was remarkable for the Celtics. After initially struggling with a 20-21 record for the first half of the campaign, they went 31-10 the rest of the way while having the best defense in the league.
Thanks to that defense, they swept the Brooklyn Nets, dethroned the defending champions in the Milwaukee Bucks in an amazing seven-game series, and won Game 7 on the road against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals to make their first NBA Finals since 2010 before ultimately falling to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
Their offseason was a roller-coaster in every definition of the word. They found their highs in signing forward Danilo Gallinari and strengthening their playmaking in acquiring guard Malcolm Brogdon, but saw their lows following injuries to Gallinari and center Robert Williams III as well as the season-long suspension of head coach Ime Udoka.
Despite these recent events, the Celtics are still going strong in contending for the title. According to Vegas Insider, they have +525 odds to win the championship, the highest in the league. Should they make the NBA Finals to represent the Eastern Conference, there are teams from the Western Conference that will make the effort to prevent them from getting Banner 18.
Here are 3 matchups the Boston Celtics could be a part of if they return to the NBA Finals
#1: Golden State Warriors
It makes a lot of sense for a rematch of last year’s finals to be highly anticipated from fans, and rightly so.
The Celtics and Warriors heavily competed against one another throughout the six-game series. Even as Golden State won its next three games after going down 2-1, Boston went down fighting with honor.
Boston would surely embrace its chance for redemption against the dynasty that is Golden State, especially Jayson Tatum, who struggled for multiple periods of time against the Warriors’ defense throughout the series.
The Warriors did lose some of their bench depth in Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr, and Nemanja Bjelica this offseason. Despite this, their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and now Jordan Poole still makes them the team to beat from the Western Conference at +600 odds for the title.
No matter what happens, the Boston Celtics this year will do what it takes to have this series go their way if both teams return to the grand stage for back-to-back years.