Celtics Set NBA Record With Historic Turnaround

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown

Getty BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06 Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics reacts with teammate skater hitting a three-point shot during a game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

NBA teams turning their seasons around is nothing new. It’s been prone to happen from time to time. Even though it’s happened in the past, that doesn’t stop viewers from tuning in whenever it does. The Boston Celtics had one of these said turnarounds, but the one they had this season set a new specific record.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Celtics finishing the season with a record of 51-31 marks the best record ever for a team that had been under .500 halfway through the season. Boston was 20-21 exactly halfway through the season before going 31-10 the rest of the way. In doing so, the Celtics have surpassed the 2018-19 Utah Jazz and the 2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers who previously shared the record at 50-32 and fell under the same criteria.

It’s times like these that emphasize the phrase “they may be down, but they’re not out!” The Celtics were frustratingly mediocre for half the season. Usually, when teams like that are below .500 with half the season in the books, they more often than not make some drastic changes. The Celtics definitely made some notable changes mid-season, but they made them with the mindset that they were going to get better, and that’s exactly what happened.

Celtics’ Play Stood Out Post-All-Star Break

Going 31-10 after starting out 20-21 is quite the feat to accomplish. It’s better to be the team that peaks at the end of the season rather than the beginning. If you continue to improve during the home stretch, your chances of making a lengthy playoff run get so much better. Such was the case for the Celtics this season.

If there was a time in the season to pinpoint when Boston had truly begun putting it all together, it would have had to have been after the all-star break. NBA Analyst Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN pointed out such when he tweeted both the records and the net rating of each Eastern Conference playoff team after the all-star break, where the Celtics undoubtedly stood out among the pack.

The Celtics have since added another game to their win total after this was tweeted, making their record 17-5 while sporting a net rating of plus-12.7, according to NBA.com. In that span, Boston had the best offensive and defensive rating out of all of the Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Some contenders become as good as they are because of how good they are on one side of the floor while not being quite as good on the other but still good enough. In Boston’s case, they’ve been elite on both sides of the floor at the right time, and that will make them a very tough team to beat in the postseason.

Al Horford Reflects on Mid-Season Turnaround

After winning their regular-season finale over the Memphis Grizzlies to secure their spot as the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, forward/center Al Horford reflected on what it was like for the Celtics to be in the position they’re at now after how their season started out.

“It’s just exciting man. I don’t know if (in) mid-January, this was a possibility. We would have settled for… a 6-5 (seed)-type thing, and to be in this position is a testament to our group really locking in, understanding how we needed to play to get to this point. And playing in Boston, it’s big. We know that and that’s why I’m excited about it,” Horford said.

Horford’s more than familiar with making lengthy playoff runs in Boston, as he played a vital role in the Celtics reaching two consecutive conference finals in 2017 and 2018. Statistically speaking, Horford hasn’t been quite as good for Boston as he’s been in years past, but that’s because they haven’t counted on him nearly as much as they did during his first tenure with the Celtics.

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