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Boston Celtics are the strongest they've been since 2008 title

The Boston Celtics finished 2022 on a roll. In 82 games played, they have 60 wins to just 22 losses. The last one, in a playoff qualification battle against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Celtics recorded a major victory with another good combined performance from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who scored 29 points apiece.

The record is the Boston franchise's best since 2008, the year of its last championship ring, which remains an incredibly popular team around the NBA.

"If I'd put my life on the line for one team, it would be that one," coach Doc Rivers confessed.

"They were mentally tough. They were also skilled, resourceful and that depth made them so special."

Almost 15 years later and with two more trips to the Finals, the Celtics are on course for a return to glory.

There are plenty of factors that give the team confidence. Their most erratic moment came during a slump that included some tough games, such as the Finals replay against the Golden State Warriors.

They went from being the best offense to not attacking at all. But the end of 2022 has brought other triumphs to the fore. Like the defense, which was fundamental against the Clippers. Derrick White and Marcus Smart took the reins, and the game took on a new complexion.

That is, precisely, the key to Joe Mazzulla's project. To strengthen the fundamentals in their own court, rather than playing with an open frontcourt. And with the reinstatement of Robert Williams in the inside game, they are going from strength to strength.

Since December 16 there has been no better defensive team, and Williams seems to be more and more adapted to protecting the rim.

And there is the differential talent to win games. As was the case in 2008 with the form of that 'Big Three', the team is in perfect shape with Tatum and Brown at the helm. Tatum commands the scoring and three-point volume, Brown complements and is able to lead with a superb physicality to which he adds more shooting volume.

"They're a dynamic duo. It's amazing to see them together and how they complement each other. I hope they stay together forever," said Paul George.

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