Grit: 1 Takeaway from Celtics/Pacers

I’m doing one thing a bit completely different at this time.

We’re going to learn quite a bit about Jrue Vacation’s heroics. There shall be a number of ode’s to Al Horford hitting 7 threes. Jayson Tatum’s flowers are already en route following his 36-point 10 rebound grasp class. After relentlessly making use of stress to the Indiana Pacers, Jaylen Brown received’t be forgotten both.

So much goes to be written about all of these guys. Joe Mazzulla and Derrick White will doubtless get hat ideas, too.

So, I wish to give attention to only one takeaway at this time. A takeaway that has been a significant query surrounding this Boston Celtics staff all season. A proverbial stick that has been used to poke and prod Boston every time video games slipped away or the going acquired a bit powerful.


Apparently, a staff both has it or a staff does not. There’s no center floor. No nuance. The notion of being a gritty staff is spoken of in absolutes, and that couldn’t be farther from the reality.

In the event you got here into this postseason believing the Celtics had been ‘comfortable’ or lacked ‘grit,’ then you definitely in all probability felt vindicated as they confronted a Jimmy Butler-less Miami Warmth and a Cleveland Cavaliers staff that misplaced Donovan Mitchell for the ultimate two video games. You in all probability clutched at your pearls when the Celtics bounced again for an additional time win within the opening sport of the Jap Convention finals. And gave an ever-so-subtle ‘I informed you so’ when Tyrese Haliburton was dominated out for Saturday’s sport.

Now, although, now that narrative must be put to mattress. As soon as once more, the Celtics went on the street in convention finals competitors and took care of enterprise. It wasn’t straightforward. For probably the most half, it wasn’t fairly both.

“A few of these guys was f——— Michael Jordan or no matter,” Brown stated after the sport. “…Within the fourth quarter, we made some big-time performs. Jayson Tatum made some big-time performs…We simply had a fantastic, nice, grit win tonight.”

When a staff like Indiana loses its star participant, it doesn’t wilt. It rises to the event. Effort ranges get turned up a couple of notches, and different gamers use the second to stake their declare for a much bigger position — I’m you, Andrew Nembhard.

Going through a staff with that kind of motivation, whereas their again is in opposition to the wall, of their first convention finals house sport for a decade, effectively, that brings a sure degree of hostility and stress.

The Pacers are taking part in with home cash. This run is expertise and expedited improvement for his or her younger roster. Any win they will steal from the Celtics is bonus.

The Celtics will know this. They’ve been the hunted all season. A chasing pack has tried and didn’t derail their run. Nonetheless, the Pacers got here shut in sport three. That’s, till the Celtics turned up the stress with about six minutes remaining within the third quarter.

You see, this Celtics staff is wildly skilled. They know what it takes to win at this degree. They perceive how you can win ugly. That’s when the ‘grit’ comes into play. That’s when the protection hunkers down. It’s when the offense provides one other layer of physicality and relentlessness.

For all of the speak of Boston’s elite offense, or Mazzulla’s penchant for math-based basketball, this staff’s id — at the very least when the chips are down — stays on the defensive finish of the ground.

Up to now, nearly all of the curveballs Mazzulla mentioned at the beginning of the season have come on the defensive finish. Throwing out random stretches of zone protection. Swapping Horford onto Pascal Siakam so Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown can match up with Myles Turner.

The fascinating half is that to be an elite protection on the NBA degree, particularly on the deep playoff degree, you’ve acquired to be gritty. You’ve acquired to be battle-tested.

The identical will be stated on offense. The Celtics have been doing a fantastic job of utilizing their rim stress to generate open seems to be on the perimeter or within the mid-range.

Indiana isn’t leaving the door open for the Celtics to stroll by means of. As a substitute, Mazzulla’s staff is kicking and clawing on each possession. Combating for his or her spots. Clashing to claim their dominance and superiority as an offensive unit.

This Celtics staff does not lack grit. They don’t lack dedication. They’re prepared. Each sport, they appear to claim their will on either side of the ground. Typically, the can result in ugly basketball. But, judging by their continued success, it could seem that they;re succeeding of their battle for dominance on most events.

Indiana put up a combat. They clearly aren’t afraid of the Jap Convention’s large unhealthy wolf. That’s good. It offers the Celtics the take a look at so many exterior of the fanbase believed the staff wanted. The actual fact they’re rising and overcoming that problem shall be misplaced on most, although. It’s the character of being the perfect. Usuually, you’re universally disliked exterior of your fanbase.

Nonetheless, it’s Boston’s grit and profitable mentality that’s shining by means of. It can carry them into the NBA Finals. And it’ll hopefully be what brings a championship again to the TD Backyard. This Celtics staff is gritty particular. Shut sport or blowout, that reality received’t change.