The Boston Celtics have the most wins in the league. Throughout the season, they have proved that they are the favorite in the East.
The Cs are 20-11 this season against teams with a record of .500 or better, and they are a league-best 21-11 on the road. This ultimately begs the question: should the Celtics prioritize the number one seed or rest?
The workload that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have this season has been high, and it is a cause for concern for Cs fans. Tatum has played 58 games this season, and Brown has played 50, and their minutes have been high. Tatum is averaging a career-high 37.4 minutes per game, and Brown is averaging a career-high 35.7. The concern lies more with Tatum, as his workload is among the highest of any player since he entered the NBA.
Head coach Joe Mazzulla has embraced the increased workload for the Jays, and he continues to stand by playing them absurd minutes. After what happened in the NBA Finals a season ago, where Jayson Tatum was completely drained, and multiple role players were playing through injury, I find it hard to believe they don’t want to rest their players.
The poor performance in the Finals last year has sparked media personalities to question the C’s stamina in the postseason. Ric Bucher of Fox Sports 1 says he trusts the Milwaukee Bucks more than the Celtics come playoff time because of the stamina factor. I think this is a fair point from Bucher because the Bucks have valued rest more than the Celtics this season.
However, the Celtics play against winning teams and on the road is a primary reason why they can afford to lose control of the number one seed. The Cs have shown the ability to win against the elite teams in the Eastern Conference on the road. Also, last season the Celtics beat the Bucks on the road twice in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and beat the Heat on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals’ Game 7.
The Celtics appear more than capable of winning a series or two without a homecourt advantage.
The Boston Celtics must prioritize rest
Ultimately, I think the Celtics need to prioritize rest down the stretch this season. They have the talent and depth to withstand the rest and get back to the NBA Finals.
With a fully rested Tatum and Brown, the Boston Celtics could easily run right through the playoff field.