BOSTON - Since the MLB off-season began, the Boston Red Sox have done almost nothing. And while the Patriots continue to prepare for the 2020 NFL post-season, the monthly check-ins will be mostly centered around the Bruins and the Celtics for the next couple of months. This is certainly not a bad thing, though, because the Celtics and Bruins are giving fans a lot to love right now!
Where They Stand: Currently, the Bruins remain among the top of the Atlantic Division by a sizable margin. Their 24-7-10 record is good for 58 points, a full nine above the next nearest competitor, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins are not as world-beating and dominant as they were at the beginning of the season, but they are still unquestionably among the best in the NHL, even with a couple losing streaks in December.
The Celtics are also first in their own Atlantic Division with a 23-8 record. In the Eastern Conference, they currently slot into the two seed. They're five and a half games behind the astonishingly good Milwaukee Bucks.
Who's Hurt?: Kevan Miller remains the biggest injury for the Bruins, as he is out indefinitely with a knee ailment. Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug were placed on the injured reserve back on December 30 with lower and upper body injuries, respectively. Connor Clifton and David Krejci are currently labeled as day-to-day. The Bruins are definitely banged up right now.
The Celtics are as healthy as they've been all year. Robert Williams is currently ailing from bone edema and Vincent Poirier had finger surgery, but aside from those injuries, the Celtics are in great shape. In their last ten, the Celtics are 7-3.
Biggest Strength: The Bruins' line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron remains the undeniable peak of the team. Marchand is apparently not All-Star worthy in the eyes of NHL selectors, though, for whatever reason. I believe this line has a chance to put out one of the greatest seasons ever for a single unit.
Scoring, scoring, scoring. The Celtics are playing extremely unselfish basketball right now and it's allowing every star to thrive. Kemba Walker is leading the team in scoring with 22.5 points per game. But Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are also over twenty with 21.3 and 20.6, respectively. Boston is the only team with three players ahead of this mark. Gordon Hayward is right there behind them, too, with 16.5 per game. The Celtics offense can attack opposing teams in so many different ways.
Biggest Weakness: Right now, the Bruins have shown a bit of trouble closing out games. Teams often come back against them and shootouts and overtime periods are not where Boston thrives. Blowouts are easy to come by for Boston, but they have a bit harder of time in close games.
The Celtics' biggest weakness remains their five spot. Daniel Theis has held court decently and Enes Kanter has been a passable replacement. But as gifted as the Celtics are in scoring, inversely, their interior defense and rebounding leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. (Kanter is the leading rebounder with just 7.8 boards per game.)
Where to Next: The Bruins will have a series of games before they head into the mid-season All-Star break. Frankly, I think the much needed period of rest and recuperation is coming not a moment too soon for the club.
As for the Celtics, their All-Star break is not until next month. Until then, we will get to see what the team looks like as a cohesive unit as January will hopefully be the first month of full strength for the squad in some time.
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