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Bradley Beal Exposes NBA’s Reality Check on Celtics’ Dominance


The Phoenix Suns have come a long way since their middling start to the season, but they are beginning to look the part of a potential title contender. The Boston Celtics, on the other hand, already appear to be in top form. Their two-game skid from last week is in the rearview mirror after they defeated Phoenix for their fourth-straight win.

The 127-112 result was not necessarily the most eye-opening thing to come out of Thursday night’s showdown, considering the C’s boast the best home record in the NBA, but how they won should definitely stand out. Boston went a mind-boggling 25-of-50 from beyond the 3-point line.

Scarier than that, though, is the fact that 37-year-old big man Al Horford led the team with six made buckets from downtown. Four other players drained three or more 3-pointers. That type of balanced attack allowed the Celtics to overcome a cold stretch from Jayson Tatum in the third quarter (three points on 1-of-6 shooting).

Suns star Bradley Beal perfectly explained why this group can survive such a drought from its top player.

They’re a really good team,” he said, per The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin, after scoring an efficient 22 points to go with seven assists. “They force you to scramble and they all shoot, all five, with confidence…You wouldn’t even notice {Tatum} having that type of game because the impact of everyone else. It was good you could slow the star down, but you got to keep everybody else at bay too.”

Is this similar to the Celtics team that will compete in the playoffs?

Beal is right on the money. Phoenix’s big three all scored 20 points against the Celtics, but the squad could still not contain its opponent on the defensive end. Although Jaylen Brown erupted for 37 points and Tatum nearly hit his average of 27, the “other guys” secured the victory with their clutch shot-making. 31 assists and 12 steals perfectly encapsulate the complete effort.

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Jayson Tatum’s scoring lapses and the Celtics’ heavy reliance on 3-pointers are genuine obstacles that must be cleared if they are going to win the NBA championship, but when Boston is playing to its ceiling, the rest of the league looks outmatched.

Though, if a team like Phoenix (38-28) can reach its own ceiling more consistently, then the pursuit for the Larry O’Brien Trophy could be more crowded than the C’s 52-14 record suggests. The Suns’ road trip continues Friday against the Charlotte Hornets, while the Celtics face the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

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About the Author

Alex House is a sports journalist who covers the NFL, NBA, and MLB for ClutchPoints. He grew up in a New York sports-heavy region in Connecticut and earned his journalism degree at the University of Rhode Island. His in-depth knowledge of two of the most passionate and raucous fan bases in the country gives him a truly unique writing voice.


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