As of February 26th, the Boston Celtics sit second in the Atlantic Division – just four wins behind the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have won the division in each of the last two years and are eyeing up a third successive crown as they seek to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for dominance in the Eastern Conference. However, the Celtics aren’t out of the divisional race just yet and Isaiah Thomas may be the man to fire Boston to a shock Atlantic title, especially if he maintains his current form. Here’s why Brad Stevens’ men are capable of pipping Toronto to the crown this season.
Boston were one of the best sides on the road in the NBA throughout the early stages of the campaign and if the Celtics regain that away form, they could shock Toronto. If they are to succeed and win the division this year, Thomas will need to perform at his very best. In Boston’s recent victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the 5-9 Thomas shone as he finished with his best numbers of the season for a single game. Without a doubt, the Celtics point guard is one of the best players at his position and his 27-point evening against the Bucks sent out a timely reminder to Boston’s rivals. The Celtics mean business this year at home, having won nine successive games, and so does Thomas.
At the time of writing, Boston are priced at 5/1 to win the Atlantic Division in Bet365’s NBA odds and they’re not a million miles away from achieving this goal. While they will require help from other teams against Toronto, the Celtics have enough talent to take advantage of their relatively easy schedule and romp to the franchise’s 22nd division crown this season. It won’t be easy but, with a bit of luck and a sudden resurgence, Boston can end Toronto’s brief era of dominance and challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers at the summit of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Thomas is easily Boston’s MVP and the Celtics would struggle without their main man. The point guard is averaging over 21 points per game – an incredible achievement – and in a way, Boston would miss him more than the Golden State Warriors would miss Stephen Curry should he be sidelined for a prolonged spell.
In fact, Phoenix Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough has already admitted they were wrong to trade the 27-year-old away. This is certainly a bold statement but if nothing else, it shows just how vital Thomas is to Boston’s chances of success this year. After all, their second highest scorer is fellow point guard Avery Bradley, who’s averaging a meagre 15.3 points per game.
So, can Thomas and the Celtics pip Toronto to the Atlantic Division crown this year? Absolutely. Why not? The Raptors may boast the better overall roster but with Boston in fine form at home, a change in their fortunes on the road could see them climb above Toronto. From there, Boston would have to be Cleveland’s main challengers in the Eastern Conference and you never know, they could reach the NBA Finals Series and scalp an underdog NBA title.
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