It’s time to rain on the parade for Boston Celtics fans before the postseason even begins.

Speaking of parades, don’t expect the Celtics to host one in the streets of Boston this summer.

The Celtics put together a dominant regular season and are the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA Finals. They have pretty much everything going for them, too. Boston has a stacked roster with plenty of star power and a supporting cast that nicely fills in the gaps. The path to the Finals in the Eastern Conference is cleared out for them as well with perhaps their biggest opposition dealing with an injury to its star player.

The Celtics should win the NBA title, and while it seems like a foregone conclusion that they will, in reality, it isn’t. There are still plenty of things that could go wrong for the Celtics in the playoffs.

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And here are three big reasons why the Celtics will fail in their pursuit of Banner 18:

Late-game ineptitude
Boston’s execution at the end of games leaves much to be desired. Does anyone fully trust Jayson Tatum or Joe Mazzulla to make the right decisions in the final seconds?

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The Celtics had issues late in games during the regular season with the offense going stagnate and Tatum just dribbling the ball into the floor. Boston, which went 13-11 in games decided by six points or less this season, seems to get away from its spectacular ball movement and focus heavily on isolations, a problem that is common throughout the NBA.

Tatum hasn’t had much success in those moments, either. It feels like he hasn’t hit a game-winning shot since converting a layup at the buzzer a couple of postseasons ago against the Brooklyn Nets. He’s had plenty of opportunities since then, too, that have only clanged off the rim.

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The pressure will ramp up exponentiality at the end of games in the playoffs. Execution needs to be almost perfect during these nail-biting finishes, and the Celtics have shown they get too sped up and often crack under this sort of pressure.

Turnover bug
Turnovers have derailed the Celtics in each of their last two playoff runs, and they bite Boston at the worst time. Jaylen Brown had eight turnovers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last year, and the Celtics committed 23 turnovers when the Golden State Warriors closed out the Finals on the parquet floor in 2022.

The turnovers are part of the reason the Celtics have been 11-12 on their home court the last two postseasons.

Brown and Tatum certainly are the biggest culprits. Brown, who has dealt with a hand injury this season, had a team-high 3.3 turnovers per game during the playoffs last year while Tatum became the first player in NBA history with 100 turnovers in a single postseason in 2022.

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Opposing defenses have the blueprint on how to defend Brown and Tatum: get up on them and make their lives miserable. They both have shown some improvement with their ball-handling — the star duo both trimmed down their turnovers per game this season — but not enough, especially with NBA rules opening up to allow defenders to be more physical.

The Celtics often want to put the ball in the hands of Brown and Tatum, and rightfully so. They are the team’s two best players who can score in a variety of ways. But if they haven’t completely fixed their ball-handling issues then there will be problems for the Celtics.

NBA’s biggest star shines the brightest
Sometimes there’s nothing a team can do but tip its cap to the best player on the court. That’s a scenario that could play out if the Celtics see the Denver Nuggets in the Finals.

Nikola Jokic is at another level than Tatum and Brown. The Celtics have absolutely no answer for the two-time MVP, who ate up Kristaps Porzingis near the rim with a beautiful array of post moves in the two regular-season meetings. By the way, are we sure Porzingis can even make it through the grind of the postseason fully healthy? It’s scary to think of Al Horford or even Luke Kornet having to try to guard Jokic.

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Jokic averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists while shooting 60.1% from the field in Denver’s two wins over the Celtics. He’ll probably do the same in the Finals.

There’s no one quite like Jokic. He’s a sensational individual talent who uplifts those around him. He has championship mettle, too. Trying to beat him when he knows what it takes to win a title is an incredibly tall task, even with a team as talented as Boston. So, good luck with that Celtics.

Featured image via Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports Images