When thinking about what has plagued the Boston Celtics in the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown era, one thing comes to mind: the inability to execute in clutch moments. Over the last five years, the Celtics have struggled immensely in the clutch, and it has cost them in the postseason. Ultimately, the Jays' run with Marcus Smart was defined by their inability to win in the biggest moments.
However, this season, with a new supporting cast around the Jays, the Celtics are showing improvement in the clutch. With this new development, the sky is the limit for the Celtics, and it could lead to greater success.
On November 15 against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics executed in the clutch and survived a late run against perhaps their greatest Eastern Conference adversary. Boston made key plays down the stretch, with Tatum and Derrick White making huge plays. Tatum’s clutch three iced the game.
The clutch win reflects how solid they have been in the clutch this season. The Cs are 3-2 in close games this season and are third in offensive rating and second in defensive rating in the clutch. The Celtics also have the second-best net rating in the clutch this season.
Boston Celtics improvement in large part due to offseason splashes
A big part of the Celtics' improvement has been the additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Both players have come through for the Celtics in key moments this season, and Holiday adds a different element in the fact that he has been on a championship team. Swapping Smart for Holiday has made a tangible difference in the clutch this season.
The Celtics are going to continue to build confidence as this season continues, but it's already a great sign that they are closing games strongly. Championship teams are great in the clutch, so it will be important for the Celtics to maintain that strong level of play.