This crazy Celtics stat shows importance of health as NBA playoffs near

This crazy Celtics stat shows importance of health as NBA playoffs near originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics started firing on all cylinders before the NBA All-Star break with a nine-game win streak and 11 wins in their last 13 games.

That win streak was snapped Wednesday night in a loss to the Detroit Pistons, but you still have to be encouraged about the Celtics’ chances of rising higher in the Eastern Conference standings the next two months based on their play since Jan. 1.

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The most important aspect of whether the Celtics keep rolling after Sunday’s All-Star Game is health. When fully intact, the Celtics are capable of beating anyone.

Take a look at these stats, for example:

Unfortunately for Boston, a healthy roster has eluded this team for much of the last two seasons. It’s an issue right now, too. Marcus Smart missed the Pistons loss with a right ankle sprain, and Robert Williams didn’t play because of right calf tightness.

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One of the primary catalysts in the Celtics turning their season around the last month-and-a-half has been their improved defense. Boston owns the best defensive rating in the league by a wide margin since the calendar flipped to 2022. Smart and Williams are two All-Defensive team caliber players and, without them, the Celtics are much easier to score on.

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A closing lineup of Smart, Williams, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White would be fantastic for the Celtics. This five-man group has so much versatility, defensive talent and scoring prowess. The only issue is health. Will all five of these players be on the court when the first round of the playoffs arrive? If yes, the Celtics could make a deep run.

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