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Will the new faces aid the Celtics in reaching the Banner 18 finish line?

This postseason, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday give the C’s a whole new level of play.

Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round series takes place on Sunday, marking the beginning of the Boston Celtics’ pursuit of the elusive Banner 18, three hundred and twenty-nine days after their last postseason journey came to an abrupt end with a brutal Game 7 home loss to the Miami Heat.

 

Let Jaylen Brown build the groundwork for Boston’s postseason debut.

 

Brown remarked, “The playoffs are on another level.” “To reach the next level, you must look within and simply unleash whatever is within you. since everything will become physical. Things will get ugly. Things will become ugly.

It’s going to be a war, a real war, and your team needs to get home. Therefore, you must take whatever necessary action to get to that location. That excites me greatly.

Though Boston’s championship goal and the opponent in Round 1 may be well-known, the Celtics bring a few new first-team lieutenants to the fight. Following the team’s disappointing 2022 NBA Finals run, Brad Stevens, the president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, made the audacious decision to make changes to the core of a team that had advanced to the 2022 NBA Finals. He acquired Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday in exchange for defensive mainstays Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III.

 

From almost the very first second that the new-look team took the court, the Celtics were an NBA wrecking ball. With an offensive rating of 122.2, Porzingis gave the Celtics offense a new dimension, and Holiday led a defense that could play to Boston’s well-known standard. The outcome was an NBA-best 64 wins that will afford the Celtics homecourt advantage for the duration of their postseason stay.

There’s an unmistakable energy around the Celtics based on what they’ve seen from this group over the past six months, but Celtics brass has been quick to remind players this week that every playoff team resets to 0-0 as the postseason launches.

 

The team’s seasoned players are desperate to reach their championship objectives, and they think that Porzingis and Holiday’s arrival, combined with the growth of key bench players, may be sufficient to propel the team in that direction.

 

How soon did Boston players realize they had this group capable of accomplishing even the highest of standards?

Al Horford, who unselfishly accepted a bench role prior to the season in order for Porzingis and Holiday to be included in the starting five alongside Derrick White, Brown, and Jayson Tatum, stated, “I honestly think from the beginning.”

 

“I have to give Brad the credit he deserves for feeling the elements that make up this locker room and putting them together. additionally being aware of the personalities and character traits of [Porzingis and Holiday].

 

We have a fantastic collection of men in our locker room who are competitive and want to win. All that matters to Jayson and Jaylen is winning. They’ve been incredibly accepting and welcoming, and they want you to enjoy this journey. That is why I feel like we’ve been able to make it work.”

Each of the six men who made up Boston’s core gave up something in order for the team to succeed as a whole. In order to increase the team’s overall efficiency, players gave up individual stats. As a result, the team posted a league-best +11.7 net rating, which was 4.3 points higher than the next-closest team (Oklahoma City, +7.3). The Celtics outscored the next closest Eastern team, New York, by 6.8 points (+4.9).

 

It has all put the team in a position where they can easily contend for a championship this year. Even without Jimmy Butler to begin the series, the Celtics are all too aware of how unpredictable a game against the Heat can be, so Boston needs to play with the same determination that it has consistently demonstrated this season.

Holiday and Porzingis in the mix will help with that quest.

 

Porzingis has only played in ten postseason games, having watched the Mavericks lose in the first round of the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. He worked for the lottery-bound Wizards during the previous season. Porzingis is a player that is really driven to compete in the postseason, as evidenced by his constant smile this season.

Holiday and Porzingis in the mix will help with that quest.

 

Porzingis has only played in ten postseason games, having watched the Mavericks lose in the first round of the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. He worked for the lottery-bound Wizards during the previous season. Porzingis is a player that is really driven to compete in the postseason, as evidenced by his constant smile this season.

Kristaps Porzingis is thrilled to be a Boston Celtic going into the postseason.

“I believe that everyone was aware of his exceptional talent and ability to shoot the ball. But I believe that at this stage of his career, he wants to compete,” Brown remarked of Porzingis, who since moving here has become good friends with Brown.

 

“I believe he’s eager for the postseason. He is prepared to fight. He’s prepared to play like that KP who finishes games with five blocks while just holding down. And if we wish to reach our stated goals, we require that version of the solution. I believe he’s a major player.

This season, Porzingis was a backline stopper who kept opponents’ field goal percentage to 5.7% below what was predicted. According to NBA monitoring, this includes limiting opponents to 49.8 percent shooting from inside six feet, an astounding 13.6 percent lower than predicted. Porzingis was a dominant post player on the offensive end who frequently kept the club afloat when his teammates’ outside shooting dried up.

 

White described him as “just a mismatch nightmare.” “If you decide to switch, he will penalize you in the post. He’s going to pick and pop if you don’t want to switch. He may affect the game in so many different ways. I was aware of his skill as a scorer, but you probably aren’t aware of all the other things he can do, particularly defensively.

This season, White and Holiday were able to share the backcourt, forming an All-Defense combo that Richard White, White’s father, dubbed “The Stock Exchange” because of their penchant to rack up thefts and blocks.

 

Holiday’s influence is also enthusiastically praised by White.

 

It’s been incredible. He just does so much that, until you’re on his team and witness it firsthand, you really don’t realize it, White said. “I thought that even though he [missed] a few games [because of a shoulder injury], Jrue might have made a play there or got his hands on a loose ball or something.” Thus, all of his minor actions on both sides of the court.

He is just another man who is focused only on winning and doesn’t give a damn about his stats or point total.

Speaking about his experience watching the Celtics win in 2008 as a Lakers fan, Jrue Holiday discusses how he’s applying his championship knowledge to this Celtics team.

Perhaps none of the Celtics made more sacrifices than Holiday. Holiday would carry a big offensive burden in his last season in Milwaukee, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo out. He was more than happy to fill a supporting role this season and work as hard as he could. Holiday dominated the NBA in corner 3-point shooting % and thrived when his teammates were the focus of attention from rivals.

 

The fact that Holiday’s postseason experience could help Boston on its postseason march is the most encouraging thing for his new colleagues on the Celtics. Having participated in 70 postseason games, he is aware of what it takes to succeed after capturing a title in Milwaukee in 2021.

Having Jrue around has been enjoyable this season. Horford remarked, “He’s a guy who knows what it takes and he has a calmness about him that I feel is infectious with our group.”

 

“I kind of glance at Jrue and everything is OK, so it doesn’t matter what time of day. Everything is alright. He seems to have observed and participated in a great deal of important games. His presence has therefore been felt here, and we feel grateful and fortunate to have him. We have already felt his influence on winning, both on and off the court.

 

Indeed, it seems as though these Celtics are prepared for battle.

 

 

Written by schooleiwa

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