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Boston Celtics Betting Outlook
Eastern Conference Odds: +535
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +1600
The Boston Celtics look to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, feeling like they have grown as a team. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown are the leaders offensively, but the Celtics are also a strong defensive team, with plenty of role players.
Gordon Hayward left the team as a free agent in the offseason, but not much else has changed from last year. The development of young players, as well as the continued chemistry between Walker and his teammates, is expected to keep the Celtics in the title hunt to the end this season.
Celtics 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 54-18
Conference Standing: Second
Boston Celtics Schedule
Boston Celtics Standings
Boston Celtics Stats
Boston Celtics Team Leaders
Jayson Tatum is considered the most explosive of the Celtics’ many scorers, with his ability to hit from deep or drive all the way to the hoop against anyone. The 22-year-old has improved his scoring, rebounding, assist and steals numbers every season he’s been in the league, and he’s proven to be a clutch player as well.
Although he finished as the team’s fifth-leading scorer a season ago, Marcus Smart makes as much impact on the floor as almost anyone.. Smart is a constant ball of energy, especially on the defensive end, setting the tone. He can get hot from long range and carry the team offensively, but usually is a great passer and defender who plays his role perfectly.
Boston Celtics Injuries
Boston Celtics Team History
The Boston Celtics are one of the storied franchises in the NBA, tying for the most league titles with the Los Angeles Lakers at 17. The team was formed in 1946 as a team in the Basketball Association of America, then moved into the National Basketball Association when the BAA joined with the National Basketball League in 1949.
The team struggled in its first four seasons, failing to make the playoffs, but when Red Auerbach was named coach for the 1950-51 season, fortunes went up. The team started a string of 19 straight postseason appearances in Auerbach’s first season, led by guard Bob Cousy. With Cousy, Ed Macauley and Bill Sharman, the Celtics were a perennial playoff team but couldn’t break through to a title.
That changed in 1956 when the team traded with the St. Louis Hawks for San Francisco center Bill Russell the No. 2 pick in the draft. Boston also added forward Tom Heinsohn, and the main corps of a championship team was in place.
Boston advanced to the 1957 Finals, winning its first title with a victory over the Hawks. The Celtics lost in the Finals to the Hawks in 1958 but then started a string of eight straight NBA titles with wins over the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959 and St. Louis in both 1960 and 1961.
Russell was the centerpiece of the championship teams, but Cousy, Heinsohn, KC Jones, Sam Jones and Satch Sanders were also key parts to the run. Following the 1965-66 season, Auerbach retired as head coach, taking over as general manager, and Russell became the Celtics’ player/coach.
Boston’s run of titles ended in 1967 when it lost in the Eastern Conference finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Celtics won again in both 1968 and 1969, defeating the Lakers each time. Russell retired following the 1969 Finals, finishing with 11 NBA titles in his 13-year playing career.
The loss of Russell began a rebuilding phase for the Celtics, though it didn’t last long. The team added players like Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White to veteran forward John Havlicek, and under Heinsohn as coach, Boston returned to the postseason in 1971-72.
Two seasons later, the Celtics made it to the 1974 NBA Finals, where they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games for their 12th NBA title. The team again advanced to the Finals in 1976, topping the Phoenix Suns in a classic series for yet another NBA championship.
Age again caught up to the team, and after a conference semifinals loss in the 1977 playoffs, Boston missed the postseason the next two seasons. But Auerbach had more crafty moves to make, drafting Larry Bird as a junior-eligible in the 1978 draft, with Bird returning to Indiana State for his senior season before joining the Celtics for the 1979-80 campaign.
Bird’s arrival coincided with an immediate turnaround of Boston’s fortunes, as the Celtics were immediate title contenders, with the rookie joining Cowens, Tiny Archibald and Cedric Maxwell among the team’s top players.
In 1980, Auerbach swapped the Nos. 1 and 13 picks in the draft to Golden State in exchange for center Robert Parish and the No. 3 pick, which Auerbach used to select forward Kevin McHale. The Boston frontcourt was set for the rest of the decade, and the Celtics won the 1980-81 NBA championship, defeating the Houston Rockets.
Boston added Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge to its backcourt, and the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals again in 1984, defeating their long-time rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, in seven games. The two squared off in the Finals again in 1985, with Los Angeles coming out on top in that one.
Prior to the 1985-86 season, the Celtics traded Maxwell to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for center Bill Walton. Boston went 67-15 in the regular season, the second-most wins in team history, then dropped just three games on their way to another NBA title, defeating the Rockets in six games in the Finals.
Boston had the No. 2 pick in the 1986 NBA Draft thanks to a previous trade with Seattle and selected Maryland forward Len Bias, who was expected to bring youth to the aging Celtics. But Bias died just two days after the draft due to a cocaine overdose.
Despite the tragedy, the Celtics remained a title contender and made the NBA Finals again in 1987, falling to the Lakers in six games. Injuries started to become a problem for the aging team, and for the first time in five seasons, Boston failed to make the NBA Finals in 1988, losing in the Eastern Conference finals to the Detroit Pistons.
The team struggled to 42 wins the next season due to a Bird injury, suffering back-to-back first-round losses. The Celtics did win a playoff series in 1991-92, but back injuries limited Bird to just 49 games total and led him to retire during the 1992 offseason.
Boston started to build around All-Star forward Reggie Lewis, but in the 1993 playoffs, Lewis collapsed on the court during a first-round series with Charlotte due to heart problems. After convincing doctors that he could return the next season, Lewis died working out in the offseason.
With McHale retired and Parish having moved on, the Celtics missed the playoffs in 1993-94, ending a string of 14 straight postseason appearances. Boston made the playoffs in 1994-95 before missing the postseason the next six seasons.
The 1998 draft was significant as the Celtics selected Kansas forward Paul Pierce with the No. 10 pick. Despite that addition to go with young forward Antoine Walker, the Celtics continued to struggle under coach Rick Pitino, who was let go after three-plus seasons midway through the 2000-01 campaign.
Jim O’Brien took over on an interim basis, then was named the full-time head coach for the 2001-02 season. He used a tough defense and the offense of Pierce and Walker, the Celtics returned to the playoffs in 2002-03, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before falling to New Jersey.
Two straight playoff appearances didn’t help O’Brien when the team started slow in 2003-04, and he was let go. John Carroll finished out the season as coach, leading the team to the playoffs, before Boston named Doc Rivers as the new head coach in 2004.
The Celtics made the playoffs in Rivers’ first season as coach but missed the postseason two straight years, leading to a major shakeup in the 2007 offseason. Boston general manager Danny Ainge made a trade for Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett, sending five players and a first-round pick to the Timberwolves. Ainge also acquired guard Ray Allen from Seattle on draft night, creating a new “Big Three” of Garnett, Allen and Pierce.
The 2007-08 team came together quickly, putting together a 66-16 record, a 42-game improvement from the previous season, making it the biggest one-year improvement in NBA history. Boston advanced to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, defeating its rival in six games for the franchise’s 17th NBA title.
The teams met again in the 2010 NBA Finals, but Los Angeles prevailed in seven games. After the Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, Allen left as a free agent to join the Heat that offseason. Following the 2012-13 season, Rivers was allowed to terminate his contract, and he left to coach the Clippers.
A few days after that, Boston traded Pierce, Garnett and two other players to the Brooklyn Nets for five players and three future first-round draft picks, setting itself up for a long rebuild. Butler coach Brad Stevens was brought in as head coach, and after all of the moves, Boston missed the playoffs in 2013-14.
Players like Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford were brought in over the next couple of seasons, as Boston returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence in 2014-15. The team drafted players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and traded Thomas for All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, but couldn’t get past the Eastern Conference finals in both 2017 and 2018, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers each time.
After a disappointing 2018-19 season that saw the Celtics lose to Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Irving left as a free agent, with Hornets guard Kemba Walker coming to the team in a sign-and-trade deal entering the 2019-20 campaign.
An astounding 35 players that have suited up for the Celtics are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, including Russell, Cousy, Heinsohn, Havlicek, Bird, Cowens, Parish, McHale, Garnett and Allen. Four former Celtics head coaches are in the Hall as well, led by Auerbach.
The Celtics had high hopes for the 2019-20 season, despite Al Horford leaving as a free agent in the offseason. The addition of Kemba Walker and the potential return to health of Gordon Hayward had Boston thinking title, and the Celtics started fast, going 10-1 in their first 11 games and sitting at 25-8 in early January. Boston was 43-21 when the NBA had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, then went 5-3 in its eight regular-season games in the Orlando bubble restart.
After a sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, it took the Celtics seven games to get past the defending champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In the Eastern Conference finals, Boston faced Miami, losing to the fifth-seeded Heat in six games.
Brad Stevens enters his eighth season as the Boston Celtics head coach having led the team to six straight playoff appearances. The 44-year-old started his coaching career as an assistant at Butler for the 2001-02 season, then was promoted to head coach in 2007, leading the Bulldogs to Final Fours in 2010 and 2011, reaching the national championship game in 2010.
Stevens went 166-49 in six seasons at Butler, making the NCAA Tournament five times, before being named the Celtics head coach for the 2013-14 season. In his seven seasons with Boston, Stevens has led the Celtics to the conference finals three times and has compiled a regular-season record of 318-246 and a playoff mark of 37-36.
Jeff Teague, guard, Minnesota Timberwolves
Tristan Thompson, forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
Gordon Hayward, forward, Charlotte Hornets
Enes Kanter, center, Portland Trail Blazers
Brad Wanamaker, guard, Golden State Warriors
Payton Pritchard, guard, Oregon
Aaron Nesmith, forward, Vanderbilt
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