According to NESN's Gio Rivera, the only reason why we saw the Boston Celtics' complete starting five -- or at least as complete as it can be without Kristaps Porzingis, who is out due to a calf injury -- was because of the NBA In-Season Tournament.
"Boston normally would sit their stars in a matchup that saw a double-digit lead for most of the second half but with the In-Season Tournament advancement on the line Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla wanted to ensure the point differential was secured," Rivera wrote.
As Rivera noted, the Celtics poured it on during the 124-97 blowout win over the Bulls.
"Led by stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter," Rivera prefaced before saying, "The Celtics didn’t just outscore the Bulls, Boston recorded a season-high 36 assists in the win and collected 49 rebounds."
Boston Celtics could make history in 2023-24 with In-Season Tournament win
There's several historic feats the Celtics can achieve during the 2023-24 season involving the NBA In-Season Tournament; of which they are now in the single-elimination quarterfinal round.
The first is obvious: Boston has maintained its position as a potential first-time winner of the NBA's In-Season Tournament. You can question just how much that means in the long-term, including whether or not it'll be valued as a championship at all or if it'll become something akin to a Division Championship win during a given season. But winning the tournament could be a major momentum-builder for a team with Banner 18 ambitions.
Speaking of Banner 18, the other potentially historic feat that not every team remaining team in the field can achieve is winning the In-Season Tournament and the NBA Championship. The In-Season Tournament would immediately have legitimacy and aura if its winner then went on to win it all.