If you listen closely, you can hear the mass exodus of people fleeing from the Boston Celtics bandwagon.
After falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 129-119 on Wednesday night, the C’s now have lost three straight and four of their last five. The lull has dropped the Celtics to second in the Eastern Conference standings, two games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors and just 4 1/2 games above the rejuvenated Cleveland Cavaliers, who sit in third.
A losing streak is one thing, but the manner in which the C’s are losing — a 10-point loss to the Clippers, a 22-point loss to the Cavs and a 20-point loss to the Raptors — has people wondering if Boston, for all its success without Gordon Hayward, has been overrated this season.
Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman discussed the Celtics’ legitimacy during Thursday’s episode of “First Take” on ESPN, and, as you might expect, they disagreed.
Watch the video below to see why Kellerman believes the Celtics have been overrated all along, and why Smith believes the C’s issues are new, yet troubling:
So, are the Celtics actually overrated?
No, they’re not.
The fact of the matter is the Celtics have been appropriately rated ever since they proved Hayward’s injury wasn’t a death sentence. They largely were written off as soon as Hayward’s foot pointed in the wrong direction, but it didn’t take long for people to realize the C’s would be relatively fine.
Still, despite the team’s success, virtually no one has said the Celtics could trump the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. And for all the Cavs’ ups and downs this season, most have maintained Boston is ill-equipped to best a LeBron James-led team in a seven-game playoff series.
Sure, ever-optimistic Green Teamers have gotten carried away at times, but so do many NBA fans. Among NBA “experts,” however, belief in Boston has been tepid, at best.
At the end of the day, the Celtics aren’t world-beaters in the East, but they’re certainly not doormats, either. They are a very good — but not great — team whose ceiling is slightly higher than it was a season ago.
Anyone who views them as anything more or less than that simply hasn’t been watching.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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