The Boston Celtics' effort in Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers isn't something they'll be eager to watch on film anytime soon. Their play was uncharacteristically lethargic, and now, they're only one loss away from seeing their season come to an end. But as the old adage goes, “it ain't over 'til it's over”, and this is certainly the case for a team boasting the services of two elite talents in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
In fact, Tatum and Brown saw their season-long efforts get rewarded with one of the most prestigious acclaims an NBA player can receive. Tatum was named to the All-NBA First Team, and Brown was named to the All-NBA Second Team which implies that the Celtics have had two of the ten best players in the league for this season, and the best duo.
Beyond that, however, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's All-NBA distinctions also bode well for the franchise's title hopes, historically speaking. As Taylor Snow, the Celtics' in-house senior writer, pointed out, the last Celtics duo before Tatum and Brown to make an All-NBA team in the same season is the duo of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, having done so in 2008. As Celtics fans would never forget, this is the same season that they broke their 22-year title drought, a remarkable turnaround for a team that won just 24 games the year prior.
Of course, these two variables cannot be further apart in terms of correlation (not to mention causation). But Celtics fans, after a dispiriting Game 5 effort, will have to cling on to any sources of hope that they can get. And this is one of them.
Nevertheless, as much adversity as the 2008 Celtics faced, having needed to play all fourteen games in the first two rounds while having their fair share of struggles on the road, it doesn't quite compare to what the 2023 Celtics are facing at the moment. They will have to replicate their escape act during the 2022 NBA playoffs, when they staved off elimination with an admirable Game 6 win on the road en route to a blowout Game 7 victory at home.
And with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way, the Celtics won't be going down without a fight, that's for certain.