Is the NBA title the Boston Celtics’ to lose?

Jayson Tatum (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Expectations in Boston, or regarding the Boston Celtics, can be a bit unreasonable. One loss can send a flock of fans and analysts out of control.

Hot takes fly. Clickbait is born. Radio shows try to spew controversy, classic 21st-century shock jock behavior. But that’s what happens when a town and team, coming off a season that ended in NBA Finals disappointment, have the highest of expectations and hit a stopgap along the way.

Boston’s most recent loss, a 123-107 downing by the Golden State Warriors, is a bit concerning and rightfully ensures that the Celtics winning the title this season is anything but guaranteed. Want more proof? See the last game.

The Boston Celtics cannot simply walk to an NBA championship; they have to earn it.

Boston hung around, but Steph Curry, as he did in the Finals last year against the Celtics, rose and shone. Curry’s 32 and Klay Thompson’s 34, combined with Jordan Poole racking up 20 points, sent a message that what happens on the court matters.

Jaylen Brown had 31, but Jayson Tatum appeared to be scared, which his idol, the late Kobe Bryant, would frown upon. Malcolm Brogdon did get 16, and Blake Griffin had 13, but with no Robert Williams or Al Horford, what could Boston possibly expect?

The answer is simple. Nothing is easily given in the NBA, and the league doesn’t always stay the same. Yes, the stars sometimes get extra help, but in reality, changes happen, and different scenarios play out each year.

The Boston Celtics cannot simply rely on their superstars; they must build more chemistry to meet expectations.

The Western Conference isn’t a pushover. The New Orleans Pelicans, a surprise team, is in a position to make noise. No, they don’t have the glamour appeal that LA or Golden State has, but they are physical. In the East, Milwaukee is still alive and well, as are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who, despite some setbacks, are still a contender.

Boston is still ahead of them in the standings, but it’s by a slim margin. Additionally, the season is still young. A lot can change from December to April, and that is a guarantee that even Charles Barkley could make and be right about.

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Don’t get it wrong, the Celtics are still projected to be the likely Eastern Conference representatives next June, but to say it’s automatic or their title to lose would be a bit premature. Maybe it will happen; who knows? But for now, take it one game at a time and see where we are come postseason time.