Celtics Resurgence to the top of the NBA East

The Boston Celtics lost to the Toronto Raptors 115-112 on Monday night, in which their six-game winning streak came to an end. Boston Guard Marcus Smart held the load for the C’s with a double-double that consisted of 28 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to top Pascal Siakam’s 40 point performance that led the way for the Raptors in a game that didn’t see the star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

News broke Monday afternoon that the trio of Brown, Tatum, and Robert Williams III would all sit out on the quick trip to Toronto. Brown and Tatum dealt with knee soreness, whereas Williams III’s injury is a meniscus tear in his left knee that will force the young center to sit for at least 4-to 6 weeks.

At the time of writing, the Celtics are currently 47-29 and sit at the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and are only one game back from first-place Miami Heat. The Celtics made an enormous turnaround halfway through the season to make it to the fourth seed. On January 17th, they were the 11th seed and played downright terrible basketball. Now, they’re the fourth seed and have gotten involved in a very close race for the first seed, as they have the best-ranked defense and currently have both Smart and Williams III in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) as well as Tatum having his name in the MVP race.

“I wish I started the season like this then I’d be the MVP. It’s the most important time of the season [to] find my rhythm. It’s the right time to find your rhythm and play your best going into the postseason. Just keep it going” said Tatum during a post-game interview after Sunday’s win at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Celtics have become a legitimate title contender, and Brown and Tatum co-lead a team and fanbase that’s hungry for that next title and the first since 2008. But with the severe injury to Williams III and the playoffs looming, the Celtics will need to adjust.

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Caleb Williams waves to fans after his final game at USC on November 18th, 2024. (Gina Ferazzi / LA Times).

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