Boston Celtics last won the NBA Finals back in 2008, but their form during the early part of the current campaign marks them down as serious contenders to snap their title drought.
The Celtics had a barren time of things between 2012 and 2016, failing to get beyond the first round of the play-offs.
They have been on an upward curve since then, twice reaching the Conference Finals before being beaten by Milwaukee Bucks in last season’s Conference Semi-Finals.
The Celtics have continued to impress this season and are being widely tipped to go further this time around. Read on as we assess their play-off chances.
Stats projection puts them in the mix
The oddsmakers at BetEasy expected the Celtics to win just over 50 games during the regular season based on their money line game odds.
However, their impressive form during the first third of the season put them on course to post somewhere between 55-60 victories.
Their average wins projection places them second behind the Bucks in the Eastern Conference and well positioned for a deep run through the play-offs.
Grabbing one of the top two seeds for the post-season would undoubtedly improve the Celtics’ chances of reaching the Finals.
Home form the key
A long unbeaten home run to start the season saw Boston post their best record on their own patch since they last won the title in 2008.
They beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals that year and a repeat match-up could well be on the cards this season.
The Celtics lost 13 home games last season as they finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and that simply wasn’t good enough.
Maintaining their good form at home will be the key to the Celtics’ chances of ending their title drought this term.
Double J finally delivering the goods
Hopes have been high in Boston over the past few seasons that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could inspire the team to glory.
The pair have shone individually during that time, but there have been signs this season that they are now forming a formidable partnership.
Brown’s all-round game has improved dramatically, while Tatum has added more assists into his performances to become a better team player.
With age on their side both Brown and Tatum have the potential to be stars of the NBA for many years to come.
Milwaukee present huge challenge
After winning the series opener against the Bucks in last season’s Conference Semi-Finals, the Celtics were swept aside in the four subsequent games.
The Bucks are once again the team to beat in the East, with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton leading a strong looking roster.
However, the Celtics beat the Bucks 116-105 during October and will believe they have what it takes to repeat the trick in the play-offs.
The Bucks are certainly a force to be reckoned with this season, but that result proves that they are not invincible.