Can the Celtics conquer their playoff demons?

Thu, May 9, 2024
by CapperTek

The NBA playoffs should be a time for believing. Still, as the Boston Celtics ready to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs, a fanbase grows increasingly tetchy.

Indeed, the conversation around how Joe Mazzulla’s men might contrive to lose the overall contest against the Cavs or further down the playoff road has begun in earnest. 

A costly trend 

To understand why Boston supporters are watching the playoffs from behind the sofa, you have to look back at the Celtics' regular season finishes over the past ten years and their subsequent record in these knockout contests. When you do, you’ll soon notice an unmistakable trend of the Boston outfit being the perennial bridesmaid but never the bride.

Of course, this narrative came close to being smashed during the 2021/2022 season when the Celtics reached the NBA finals. What was predicted to be a nip-and-tuck seven-game series turned into one-way traffic as the Golden State Warriors won 4-2. Commendably, the Celtics bounced back last season but fell away during the conference finals to an eighth-seeded Miami Heat side they should have beaten. 

Keep in mind these two knockout exits came on the back of getting beaten in the conference final or the semifinals in four of the five years leading up to the 2021/2022 season. In short, the NBA playoffs and the Celtics have become a predictable tale. 

Will it be more of the same in 2024?

Surely not this year you might ask with the Celtics at just +100 and the overwhelming favorite to win their first NBA finals since 2008. Admittedly, it currently seems difficult to imagine that Mazzulla’s free-scoring side doesn’t continue to steamroll the opposition with their frenetic intensity that has, so far, proved almost impossible to match. 

Equally, this makes their plight over the next few weeks all the more intriguing given the Celtics’ well-documented tendency to lose when winning looks easier. Notwithstanding this crippling trend, Celtic fans will be hoping that it is merely a matter of time and that the law of averages will eventually favor the Boston outfit.

Backing the Celtics

If you’re part of this school of thought then you can claim BetMGM’s offer of up to $1500 back in bonuses if your first bet on the NBA playoffs loses. Once you’ve entered the corresponding promo code you will be eligible to claim this sizable registration offer. With the Denver Nuggets being the next best-priced team at +500, you can understand why the smart money is on the Celtics at this stage. 

Encouraging signs 

To that end, capitulation doesn’t have to be a certainty. Indeed, closing out the first-round playoffs against the Miami Heat without Kristaps Porzingis was undoubtedly an encouraging sign and perhaps an indication that the Celtics are better prepared to respond to adversity. 

With that being said, there will be further unexpected roadblocks as the playoffs near the business end and only time will tell if the Boston franchise have the temperament to avoid another meltdown during the season's finale.