The Boston Celtics are no longer the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, at least record-wise.
Joe Mazzulla’s team has officially fallen 1.5 games behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, and that might as well doom their season come playoff time.
That’s why Celtics players know they need to get back to their best right now, as losing homecourt advantage on a potential seven-game ECF series vs. the Bucks could be a massive factor.
The Celtics failed to beat the New York Knicks in a double-overtime thriller at home, once again falling short when it mattered the most.
When asked about the team’s recent shortcomings, Celtics star Jayson Tatum admitted that the team needs to get its ‘swagger’ back, but he added that he’s fully confident in their ability to get back on track:
“We gotta get our groove back, which, you know, I’m confident that we will. [We will] get back to being ourselves and playing with that swagger on both ends of the floor for 48 minutes,” Tatum said.
"We gotta get our groove back, I'm confident that we will."
Jayson Tatum on Celtics' recent struggles pic.twitter.com/v4cno0Aagj
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 6, 2023
As of now, the Celtics only lead the Philadelphia 76ers by three games, and they’ve gone 6-4 in their past ten games.
They’re clearly missing Jaylen Brown, who’s still away from the team as he nurses a facial injury, but they have more than enough depth and firepower to hold the fort down while he works his way back.
But they’ll also need Tatum to be at his best in the meantime, and he has struggled with his shot since that 55-point performance at the All-Star Game.
They still have more than enough time to straighten the ship, but the clock is ticking, and they have no margin for error in the Eastern Conference right now.NEXT: The Celtics Celebrate Their Beloved MVP Candidate