Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The C’s are 21-4.
With every game that record gets more and more legit. The Celtics haven’t lost two in a row since they lost the first two games of the season. They’ve won with stifling defense. They’ve won with offensive firepower. They’ve won without Horford, without Kyrie, without Jaylen, without Marcus Morris. They’ve definitely won without Hayward. They’ve won with a rookie shooting dang near 50% from three.
Two weeks ago, I would’ve told you the Celtics probably weren’t going to win 60 games this year. Now I’m not so sure.
When you look at a stat like Blakely’s, that the Celtics have gone to the Finals 13 of the previous 14 times they were the first team in the league with 20 wins, and that says we’ve reached a point where this record means something.
I mean, Blakely’s structure is a little arbitrary (first team to 20 wins), but the point behind it isn’t: A team that looks elite after 25 games is probably elite.
And I will honestly tell you I’m as surprised as anyone.
Page 2: Where Stevens wasn’t worried about Tatum’s 3 point shot
It feels unbelievable now that Tatum’s 3-point shooting was considered a question mark during the predraft process. But he put a lot of work into that skill, the Celtics helped foster it, and Tatum has spent the first two months of his NBA career drop-kicking any doubts about his jumper.
Incredibly, he currently leads the NBA with a 51.3-percent mark from behind the arc. When the Milwaukee Bucks sent hard double teams Monday night at Celtics star Kyrie Irving, Tatum punished them by drilling his first four 3-pointers on the weak side en route to a ho-hum 17-point night.
Remember these takes?
He is almost too reliant on mid-range jumpers, and may not be a good enough finisher or 3-point shooter to create overall efficiency. He also struggles with decision-making and doesn’t have the greatest handle, which may limit the areas he’s able to get to in the halfcourt. Defensively, he may not have the lower body strength to deny position to bigger opponents, which may limit him from playing the coveted small-ball four role that almost every 6-foot-9 NBA player has to fill.
(FanSided didn’t think the Celtics would pick Tatum because at that time the Celtics had the top pick and everybody just assumed that Fultz was the best player in the draft without question.)
I’m pretty much done second-guessing Ainge and Stevens at this point, and you’d think the commentariat would be as well, but you can bet that if the Celtics get the Lakers’ pick next summer, you’ll get some sizzling hot takes no matter what Boston does with it, and regardless of how well Tatum and Brown have turned out.
Finally: “Thanks for the extra phone, Dad.”
Pretty much exactly what we needed from Tatum.
The rest of the links
MassLive: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics rookie, misses college but not homework: ‘I’m good where I’m at’ | 10 things we learned: Kyrie Irving dominates as Boston Celtics take down Milwaukee Bucks | Kyrie Irving, Al Horford help Boston Celtics hold off Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, 111-100 | Brad Stevens: Boston Celtics rookie Semi Ojeleye can be elite defensively — ‘and I’m not sure he’s far from it now’