The Bostons Celtics have lost more than 50% of their games since the All-Star break and they desperately need to improve their form ahead of the playoffs.
<p>Isaiah Thomas subjected himself to widespread mockery on social media this week after claiming the Boston Celtics would have won a title by now if he was not traded. The two-time All-Star was back in Boston with the Denver Nuggets on Monday night and fans gave him a hero’s welcome. After inspiring his new team to a 115-104 victory, he speculated on what might have been. “Yeah, we would’ve probably won a championship already,” he declared, sparking mirth and outrage in equal measures among the Twitterati.</p><p>“Guess he forgot there’s this team called the Warriors that would have easily prevented that,” said one. Others pointed out that the dominant presence of LeBron James in Cleveland would have prevented Boston from even winning the Eastern Conference, and mirthful memes abounded. The decision to trade Thomas and bring in Kyrie Irving as starting point guard actually looks a shrewd piece of business, as I-T has struggled for form since an injury he sustained in the 2017 postseason.</p><p>Thomas is now averaging 13.7 points on 37.3% shooting from the field, with 29% shooting from beyond the arc, and he now longer looks explosive off the dribble. His presence might also have hampered the development of young guns Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Thomas enjoyed the best spell of his career in Boston, but to say his departure damaged the team’s championship hopes seems a little far-fetched.</p><h2>A tough run-in</h2><p>However, it is clear that this current Boston team is in a difficult position right now. Many tipped them to romp to victory in the east this year after James left Cleveland for LA and created a giant power vacuum in the conference. After all, they went all the way to the conference finals last season, despite suffering injuries to their two best players. With a fit again Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, backed up by the youthful talents of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown and the reliable presence of Al Horford, they were expected to top the Eastern Conference standings.</p><p>However, they are now below .500 since the All-Star break and languishing in fifth in the standings. They have shown flashes of their brilliance, particularly when they got the better of the Dubs, but defeat to Denver halted the momentum they had started to build. Tatum is in a slump, Hayward is yet to get back in the groove and seven of their final 11 games are on the road. Tomorrow’s game against the Sixers in Philadelphia will be huge, as defeat could leave them in real danger of finishing fifth and enduring a horrendous postseason schedule.</p><h2>Boston Celtics futures prospects</h2><p>Should fans fade the Celtics for the remainder of the season, or get behind them? <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/outrights/basketball/us/national-basketball-association/?mtid=338" target="_blank" title="Boston to win Eastern Conference">The Celtics have now drifted all the way out to 4/1 (5.0) with Bet365 to win the Eastern Conference</a>, and that looks like an interesting set of odds. In Irving, they have the second most experienced postseason player in the conference, after Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard.</p><p>If they were to finish fifth and take on the Pacers in the first round of the postseason, they would certainly be in with a good chance of success. You would then expect the Bucks to lie in wait, and the Celtics are 2-1 against them this season. They might not quite have enough quality to win the east, but backing them to thrive in the first nine or 10 games of the postseason could be an interesting strategy.</p><p><strong><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/basketball/" target="_blank" title="NBA Match Betting Odds">View all NBA match betting odds here</a></strong></p>