The Boston Celtics have turned the corner so many times this season they’ve walked around the block over and over again.
What the Celtics deliver in the playoffs remains a guess. It could be a first-round exit against Indiana. It could be an NBA finalist. The fourth-seeded Celtics (49-33) showed this season that both scenarios are plausible.
There’s the team that went 14-4 just after the new year, and there’s the team that went 8-11 in late February through late March.
There are wins over Golden State, Philadelphia and Toronto and losses to Chicago, Phoenix and New York. There have been awkward team moments (Kyrie Irving publicly calling out his younger teammates) and special team bonding moments (a long coast-to-coast flight filled with card games and laughter).
“It takes time to come together as a team and seeing how good you can be,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters this week. “We’ve had our moments. I’m not sure we’ve peaked, which I guess is a good thing. But we’re going to have to play awfully well and awfully hard, awfully smart, and awfully together if we’re going to have a chance to win any game, let alone any series.”
Here's the thing, the Celtics know how to play well, hard, smart and together. They’ve done it together, they’ve done it when they’ve been on other teams and done it when players are out with injury.