BOSTON — While some within the basketball world already are writing off the Boston Celtics’ NBA Finals hopes this season, one of the league’s premier players is not among that company.
The Celtics really haven’t come close to meeting the high expectations set ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, as they currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 25-18 record. Boston, to be fair, has shown occasional flashes of brilliance this season, but its level of inconsistency has become somewhat concerning.
But prior to Wednesday’s tilt at TD Garden, Kawhi Leonard explained why he’s not counting out the Celtics, who currently are seven games back of the East-leading Toronto Raptors.
“They have a lot of talent,” Leonard said, per Celtics.com’s Taylor Snow. “It doesn’t matter about where you are in the standings or the expectations from who’s watching, because it’s really about how they feel about themselves and the direction they’re going in. You can’t say anything until the playoffs are over.”
It’s tough to find a flaw in Leonard’s logic. It’s an effective guarantee that the Celtics will qualify for the playoffs, and anything can happen once the postseason gets underway. Not to mention, playoff series often are decided by high-end talent and depth, both of which the Celtics have in spades.
So while the C’s might not end up with the No. 1 seed in the East at the conclusion of the regular season, they’re probably not a team you’d want to run into in late April and May.