The Boston Celtics entered the 2018-19 season as one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
However, Boston had its fair share of struggles throughout the first half of the season and even held a team meeting following a 120-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 21 to help iron out the kinks. Following Wednesday’s victory over the Indiana Pacers, Celtics star Kyrie Irving revealed that the meeting was an effort to “build that chemistry” that the team was searching for. via ESPN:
“We could pinpoint a lot of turning points,” Irving said. “We just want to build that chemistry first. Just getting with one another, really put everything out there and then move on from that point.
“At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some shit in this locker room. It’s just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team.”
The meeting worked wonders for the team as they’ve won seven of their last nine games, including a win over Indiana. The Celtics are currently riding a four-game winning streak. Two of those victories came without Irving, who missed two consecutive games with a eye injury that he suffered earlier on New York’s Eve against the San Antonio Spurs.
Boston, back in action on Thursday against the Heat (7 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV), has turned into one of the more dominant offensive teams in the league. It currently ranks 10th in the NBA with 105.4 points per contest while also shooting nearly 37.0 percent from beyond the arc.
“So everything we talked about at the beginning of the season, I feel like it’s translating now as we continue to get to know one another,” Irving said. “Meat of the season right now and you can tell that our team is just feeling really good being around each other. And it’s totally different in terms of how we feel out there. It’s just really positive. And when I don’t have to go out there and score 30 it’s cool with me. I probably won’t have to score 30 for us until we play one of the best teams in the league — or, if any — until the playoffs. So I’m happy about that.”
In their win over the Pacers, the Celtics leaned on a balanced scoring attack that saw seven different players finishing in double figures. Forward Marcus Morris led the way with 22 points on a very efficient 6-of-8 shooting performance. In addition, fellow forward Jaylen Brown added 22 points of his own off the bench.
Boston’s biggest strength is the extraordinary amount of depth it has when healthy. The team is currently missing Aron Baynes, who is dealing with a broken hand. Still, rookie Robert Williams and second-year big man Daniel Theis have seen sizable minutes off the bench.
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