Since the All -Star break, the Celtics have played inconsistent basketball. Embarrassing losses to the Knicks, Rockets, and Cavaliers have plummeted the Celtics to second place behind Milwaukee. Currently, the team is 2 games in front of the 76ers and 2games behind the Bucks. Any hopes of returning to game seven rest on tough defense and focus on making the right decisions. In this post, we will review three areas the Celtics need to focus on heading into the postseason.
Despite, a strong first half the club needs to play tight defense and focus on mental toughness. Sloppy turnovers will not cut it against teams like Milwaukee and Golden State. Currently, the team is on a three- game winning streak and playing as a club ready for the playoffs.
Getting to the championship will require clutch scoring, defense, and rebounding. Unfortunately, the Celtics rank near the bottom in the rebounding department. The top rebounding teams are the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks. However, the Celtics are rebounding better than the Golden State Warriors. The Celtic’s top rebounders are Jayson Tatum 8.9 rebounds per game, Robert Williams 8.7, Jaylen Browns 6.7 rebounds per game, and Al Horford 6.9 rebounds per game.
Head coach Joe Mazzulla is under a lot of pressure. Recently named head coach, they have been criticizing how he manages the players. Namely Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both players need to be fresh in order to win the championship. Brown suffered a serious facial injury earlier in the season. Mazzulla is the youngest coach in the NBA.
The Celtics are under pressure after last year’s loss to Golden State. Playing smart and solid rebounding will play a significant factor in the outcome. At 51-23, the team needs to regain its first- half form.
The recent flurry of moves has enticed the Bruins nation. General manager Don Sweeney gained defenseman DimitriyOrlov and forward Garnet Hathaway. Also, swapping jerseys were Red Wing forward, Tyler Bertucci. All three players bring needed grit to the roster. In return, the Bruins gave up a slew of draft picks over the next several years. In this post, we will review three reasons why these moves will entice the Bruin nation.
In, Dimitry Orlov, the Bruins received a scrappy defender. In his first few games, Orlov has figured in the scoring netting two along with two assists. Orlov provides significant depth to go along with Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Derek Forbot, and Connor Clifton.
In, Garnet Hathaway, the Bruins receive depth on their fourth line. Hathaway adds grit and toughness to the lineup. Tyler Bertuzzi, the long =time Red Wing brings added scoring. With Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno injured, Bertuzzi is a welcomed addition.
Hathaway provides grit and energy to the fourth -line. This is what the Bruins have lacked in previous playoff runs. With more physical talent, opposing teams will fear the Bruins in a seven- game series.
The third reason the Bruins will succeed is goaltender Linus Ullmark. Ullmark signed as a free agent from Buffalo two years ago. With 17 games remaining, Ullmark’s record is an impressive 33-4 with a 938 save percentage. He scored an open net goal earlier in the season.
Many people around the NHL feel Ullmark is an MVP Goaltender Backup goalie Jeremy Swayman has been inconsistent. Look for head coach Jim Montgomery to rest Ullmark and use Swayman down the stretch.
Winning the Stanley Cup is a long way off. In order to win the cup, the Bruins need solid goaltending from both Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. Counting on one goalie will put pressure on the team and coaches.