The Celtics’ Miraculous turnaround for a Spot in the Finals

Written by: Aarav

Edited by: Andy

Visual by: Macy

On January 7, 2022, the Boston Celtics found themselves at Madison Square Garden facing the New York Knicks fighting for a spot in the NBA play-in tournament. The game was tight throughout, and was only settled by an RJ Barrett Buzzer beater to win the game for the Knicks sinking the Celtics to 18 wins and 21 losses. 

Fast forward 5 months, and the Boston Celtics are scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors on June 3 in game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals. Should they win this series, they will have completed one of the most spectacular turnarounds in NBA history. 

At the start of the 2021/2022 NBA season, many Celtics fans came into the season anticipating a strong challenge in the playoffs. However, it was not long before these same fans were deflated and had given up on the Celtics after a below-average start to the season. 

As a result of this rookie head coach Ime Udoka was coming under a lot of pressure, and there was also talk of splitting up All-Star duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown through a trade. Many fans cited that the two were too ball dominant and not good enough playmakers to lead a team to a championship.

In an attempt to revive their season the Celtics made some trades to acquire point guard Derrick White and center Daniel Theis to bolster their depth and defense. After this trade, the Boston Celtics went 21-6 to close out the regular season. The strong second half of the regular season was led by Jayson Tatum who averaged 32 points per game after the all-star game.

The Celtics finished the season as the second seed in the Eastern Conference facing what many saw as the title favorite, the Brooklyn Nets, in the first round of the playoffs. Going into the series many fans were split on who would win, with the Nets being favored due to their star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

However, even with the early doubters, the Celtics swept the Nets 4-0, progressing to the second round. They then defeated the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks led by Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 7 game series. Following this, the Celtics eliminated the #1 seed Miami Heat in seven games to book their ticket to the NBA Finals. 

This is the Celtics’ first Finals appearance since 2010, and gives them the chance to add the 18th championship to their trophy case. Their last one came in 2008 led by their big 4 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. 

If the Celtics do defeat the Golden State Warriors this season there will be one main point proven, the same point made by Kevin Garnett after their 2008 championship win: “anything is possible.”