The 2023 Celtics Need Bench Production
The Boston Celtics may have started out the 2023-23 season as the hottest team in the league, but going into their matchup with Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, they were an alarming five and seven over their last 12 games. That is a sharp drop from the run of 21 wins and five losses coming out of the gate, so clearly, something had changed.
The poor run of results started in mid-December with a 123-107 defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. In isolation, some of the losses aren’t bad – the likes of Golden State and the Denver Nuggets will be in contention come playoff time – but there are also some defeats to teams that the Celtics should be blowing out. That came to a head on Tuesday, with the Celtics looking just plain bad as they gave up 150 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.
The Celtics’ start to the season was so good that they still have the best record in the NBA, and demand for Boston Celtics tickets at the TD Garden is still high. In Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have a one-two punch of stars good enough to drive a deep playoff run, but the ability of this team to add an 18th NBA Title to their collection will come down to the role players and bench scoring. Tatum went off on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, pouring in 29 points to go along ith 14 boards and ten assists, as he completed the second-triple double of his career. It was a statement win against a team boasting star power of their own in Luka Doncic, and it feels like the type of win that will spur Boston to another string of victories over the next few weeks.
The Celtics’ ability to hit from range is one thing to watch moving forward. They were 16 of 43 from three-point range here, with eight different Boston players hitting at least one trey. If they can keep that consistency – and variety – in their three-point shooting, defenses will have to open up and guard everyone on the perimeter, giving the Celtics more space to exploit and execute in the paint. This Boston team is for real when the role players are contributing. Now it is up to them to do so more consistently over the rest of the season.
Boston Celtics Upcoming Home Games
Fri Feb 3 – Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns @ TD Garden Wed Feb 8 – Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers @ TD Garden Fri Feb 10 – Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets @ TD Garden Sun Feb 12 – Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies @ TD Garden Wed Feb 15 – Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons @ TD Garden