Boston, Massachusetts - Yesterday, the Boston Celtics pulled even for second place in the Atlantic Division alongside the Philadelphia 76ers with a 129-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. They'll have a chance to extend their winning streak to nine in a row with a potential win over the Detroit Pistons tonight, but beyond the remarkable eight consecutive games won streak, the Celtics may have cracked the code for going further into the 2018 season, thanks to tinkering from head coach Brad Stevens.
Going into 2018, the Celtics were considered one of the league's favorites and they were believed to contend because of a lineup that had five solid starters and some of the league's best in Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. Quickly, however, it became apparent that the Celtics would not be able to rely on a lineup that was as good on paper as this one was. At least, not yet.
Instead, Stevens continued to play with the lineup in the hopes of finding a starting five that worked best for the team's chemistry and energy, because he knew the skill was already there. Whether or not Marcus Morris can actually start against some of the league's elite is an irrelevant problem if the Celtics cannot get to that post-season point in the first place, after all.
Instead, it seems like Stevens has adopted the strategy of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, the two most dominant Boston sports teams of the twenty-first century. For the Sox, David Ortiz was often the clutch player called upon, but over the course of their four World Series victories, there have been so many different heroes, from Shane Victorino to J.D. Drew to Joe Kelly and more. For the Patriots, whoever gets their number called in any game is expected to deliver. Whether this is fullback James Develin or one and done running back Jonas Gray, any Patriot can step up any make his mark at any times.
This is what works for the Celtics. Instead of relying on the same player every game, the Celtics celebrate a different star every night it seems. Irving probably has the most "great games," but anyone from Hayward off the bench to Morris in the lineup to, somehow, Daniel Theis can have the best game on the entire team. Interestingly, the newest star has been Robert Williams, a player many are proclaiming to be the best big man to come to the Celtics in some time as he's the tallest player on the team at 6'10" and just recorded five blocks against the Hawks. Might the Celtics have gotten another steal in the draft. Sure, time will tell. After all, there might be a new star against the Pistons tonight.