The Celtics did not play very good basketball in Ime Udoka's first two months as Boston's coach.
The first-time head coach implemented a new defensive scheme with his athletic roster, and it took time for the Celtics to gel. Boston was hovering right around the .500 mark as the calendar turned to 2022.
Some said Udoka was in over his head. Others questioned Marcus Smart as the team's point guard and whether or not he was truly a fit to thrive in the new role.
And some even questioned whether or not Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown could play together and coexist, with analysts suggesting that the Celtics should trade one of the two players at the deadline and blow up the roster.
And then, it clicked.
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Boston went on a run to earn the No. 2 seed in the East, and looked like the league's best team for the better part of the last three months.
The Celtics duo is now using the criticism as motivation as two of the league's best young wing players sit four wins away from raising banner No. 18 in Boston.
The task won't be easy, as the Celtics now face the team that's been the class of the league over the better part of the last decade: the Warriors.
Game 1 is Thursday night.
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