2016 NBA Playoff Predictions

nba playoffs

It’s that time of year in the NBA. 16 teams will battle it out for the 2016 Larry O’Brien trophy starting today. Here are my predictions for this year’s NBA Playoffs.

EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

heat hornets

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #8 Detroit Pistons

The first round is a mere formality for Lebron James at this point. Drummond and Reggie Jackson will put on a show to steal Game 3 but Cavs close it out in 5.

#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #7 Indiana Pacers

The Raptors look to finally win a playoff series, but they will have to do so against a revitalized Paul George and veteran Indiana team with Eastern Conference Finals experience. This one is a battle until the end, where Toronto pulls off a Game 7 win.

#3 Miami Heat vs. #6 Charlotte Hornets

The Heat enter the playoffs without Chris Bosh but playoff veteran Dwayne Wade has been great this season for Miami. However, a healthy Charlotte team with Nicolas Batum and Al Jefferson healthy in the front court will cause problems for Miami. Whiteside will be in foul trouble constantly and Kemba Walker will be clutch in this series. Hornets in 6.

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Boston Celtics

The Hawks have given the Celtics trouble this season, but Boston has shown it has the capability to beat anybody, home or away. Isaiah Thomas will help make this a close series for the Celtics but Horford and Millsap will be too much for Boston’s front court to handle. Atlanta wins series in 7 games.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

okc dalls

#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #8 Houston Rockets

A rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, but this year’s will not be as close. Harden will score 45 in Game 4 but the Warriors will do their thing and win in 5 games.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis has been decimated by injuries this season, and can finally be put out of their misery against San Antonio. A balanced offensive attack and solid team defense led by Kawhi Leonard will help the Spurs sweep this series.

#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #6 Dallas Mavericks

Overshadowed by the Warriors and Spurs, the Thunder still have the best duo in the NBA in Westbrook and Durant. Dallas surprised many by making the playoffs this year, but Dirk won’t have enough left in the tank to push Dallas into the next round. Thunder sweep the series.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #5 Portland Trail Blazers

Something about the Clippers seems off this year. They still have the talent led by Chris Paul but have been dysfunctional at times, while the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have helped the Trail Blazers exceed all expectations. Portland wins this series in 6 games.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

cavs hawks

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #4 Atlanta Hawks

The Cavs swept the top-seeded Hawks in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, and although the Hawks aren’t any better this year, Cleveland has been vulnerable times so I’ll give Atlanta a game and say Cavs in 5.

#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Charlotte Hornets

With a playoff series finally under their belt, the Raptors start to play to their potential. The Hornets will be feisty in this series but Toronto will vanquish them in 6 games.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

spurs thunder

#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #5 Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers turned some heads by annihilating the Warriors shortly after the All-Star Break, but Steve Kerr won’t let Damian Lillard catch him off guard again. Golden State overpowers Portland on their way to a sweep.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #3 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Spurs have been invincible at home this year, but the Thunder only need to take one to have a shot in this series. I think Westbrook and Durant will once again be dominant and the Thunder seize their opportunity to clinch the series at home in Game 6.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

486173711-demar-derozan-and-kyle-lowry-of-the-toronto-raptors.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #2 Toronto Raptors

Everyone has defaulted the Cavs into the NBA Finals once again, but if there’s a team that has a chance to match up well and play the Cleveland tough, it’s the Raptors. Demare Carroll could be key defensive force on Lebron in this series as he returns to full health. Raptors shock the Cavs in 7.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

okc gsw

#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #3 Oklahoma City Thunder

If it plays out this way, this series may be the most exciting of the playoffs. Loaded with superstars and talent, OKC will put a valiant effort against Golden State. The Warriors Big 3 will show up for the occasion however, and their depth will be too much for the Thunder to handle. Warriors in 6.

 

NBA FINALS

Green_Draymond_gsw_141020

#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #2 Toronto Raptors

Stephen Curry and the Warriors get the chance to validate their 73 win season and close out the greatest single season in the history of the NBA with a championship. Warriors sweep the Raptors, and Draymond Green posts a triple-double in Game 4 to take MVP honors.

Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LSD and the Potential to Revolutionize how we Understand Human Consciousness

I believe that the most powerful entity that we know of in the universe, aside from whatever created it, is the human brain. It is one of the few things that is so powerful, so complex, and so dynamic that it’s hard to even begin to understand what it is capable of. Everything we’ve ever achieved is ultimately due to the power of the human brain, which is why I think it’s so crucial to continue to learn and explore how it operates. The world of drugs is a fascinating insight into how the brain works, and this week a landmark study on how the brain functions on LSD was published by a group of scientists at Imperial College London.

Handout shows the brains of subjects lying awake with their eyes closed, under a placebo and the drug LSD, when being examined using functional MRI

The brains of subjects lying awake with their eyes closed, under a placebo (L) and the drug LSD (R), are seen when being examined using functional MRI, in this handout image from Imperial College London and The Beckley Foundation. Scientists have for the first time scanned the brains of people using LSD and found the psychedelic drug frees the brain to become less compartmentalised and more like the mind of a baby. REUTERS/Imperial College London-The Beckley Foundation/Handout via Reuters

One of the researchers in this study stated:

Normally our brain consists of independent networks that perform separate specialized functions, such as vision, movement and hearing — as well as more complex things like attention. However, under LSD, the separateness of these networks breaks down and instead you see a more integrated or unified brain. In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained.”

LSD essentially creates a more fluid and interconnected brain that breaks down barriers in the way we perceive ourselves and the environment and allows us to be more open-minded and see the big picture. It essentially changes us from rigid, cynical, narrow-minded adults to creative, imaginative, and open-minded children. It opens up so many possibilities for unleashing human consciousness to its full potential. If we were able to harness the full abilities of the brain by unifying all of its different systems, without overstimulating the emotional functions that cause hallucinations, the possibilities would be endless. As one scientist put it, “Consciousness is everything we’ve got; everything we perceive, feel, and ‘what it’s like’ to be ourselves is mediated by our consciousness. Since we’ve all got one, and it’s so important, it is reasonable that we try to find out how it works.”

brain scan 2

One tangible use for LSD and other psychedelic drugs is it’s potential to combat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that LSD-assisted psychotherapy may have the potential to treat depression, addiction, and end-of-life anxiety. By breaking down the barriers of the different compartments in our brain, LSD has the power to disrupt negative thought processes entrenched in our brain as we are able to better perceive ourselves on the whole. Dr. David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial and the study’s lead author said “We ultimately would like to see LSD deployed as a therapeutic tool.”

There’s no question that drugs such as LSD and other psychedelics have the power to help us understand the brain and lead to improvements in the way we think and operate as human beings. We need to get away from the mindset that all drugs are bad and will make you do crazy things or kill you, and start to look at the powerful potential some of these drugs have to do positive things. As I said in the beginning, I think the human brain is the most powerful entity that we know of in the universe, so why not experiment and research with substances that can help us understand it more and even improve it?

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lsd-brain-scans-effects_us_570e5e8ae4b03d8b7b9ef83c

http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/13/11420488/brain-scan-reveals-how-lds-makes-you-lose-your-sense-of-self-

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-psychedelic-idUSKCN0X82B2

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this article. Please like the post if you enjoyed reading and leave feedback in the comments down below.

-Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Science/Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Boston Red Sox Preview

2016 red sox

The 2016 MLB season is officially under  way, and with the Boston Red Sox set to open up the season against the Indians in Cleveland, here is a preview of what to expect.

The Offseason

price

The biggest acquisition of the offseason for the Red Sox, and arguably the entire MLB, was the signing of free agent pitcher David Price to a 7 year, $217 million deal. Did the Red Sox overpay for Price? Probably. Does that mean it wasn’t a great move? Absolutely not. The Red Sox desperately needed an ace and David Price is as good as it gets. Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts over 220 innings pitched between Detroit and Toronto last year on his way to a 2nd place finish in Cy Young voting. He has experience pitching in the AL East with both Tampa Bay and Toronto, and should be a reliable force at the top of the rotation this season. The other major acquisition for the Red Sox was the trade for closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel had 4 straight seasons of 40+ saves for the Atlanta Braves from 2011-2014 before finishing with 39 saves and a 2.58 ERA for San Diego last year. However, the Red Sox did have to give up Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, and most notably Manuel Margot in return.

The Red Sox also made two other moves worth noting this offseason. The first was signing outfielder Chris Young to a 2-year $13 million contract. Young hit 14 HR, 42 RBI, and batted .252 in 356 plate appearances last  season for the Yankees. The 31 year old veteran will primarily be coming off the bench this season, and is a low-risk high reward signing by the Red Sox given his friendly contract. Second, Boston traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Seattle Mariners for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. Some experts think this may have been the Red Sox best move value-wise. Wade Miley is a mediocre starting pitcher who was never going to be better than a #4 or #5 starter in Boston. Meanwhile, Carson Smith showed signs last year that indicate he has the potential to become an elite relief pitcher over the next five years.

The Lineup

lineup (2)

papi

One of the biggest story lines going into this year is David Ortiz’s final season with the Red Sox before retirement. The DH will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, and continues to get the job done even as he turned 40 in the offseason. Ortiz hit 30 HR with 103 RBI at age 37, 35 HR with 104 RBI at age 38, and 37 HR with 108 RBI at age 39. There’s no signs of him slowing down so another 30 HR / 100 RBI season is within reason for Ortiz in 2016. As far as the rest of the lineup, Betts and Boegarts are the young stars who have the potential to break out and become All-Stars. The Red Sox lone 2015 All-Star, Brock Holt, will provide value in all different positions this season and should see a fair amount of playing time especially if others in the lineup struggle. Dustin Pedroia is a veteran at second base, but can still get the job done if he stays healthy this year.

The corner infielders will have a different look in 2016, as Hanley Ramirez shifts to first base and Pablo Sandoval begins the season on the bench in favor of Travis Shaw at third. Shaw has shown high potential during the playing time he got last year, and Sandoval is too much of a liability on offense and defense to be on the field for 9 innings. Early reports of Hanley at first base are leaning positive, and his offensive potential is never in doubt. The Sox young catcher Blake Swihart will be behind the plate and also has high upside given he remains healthy this year. Rounding out the lineup is outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. JBJ is one of the premier defensive outfielders in the MLB but must still prove himself offensively this season if he wants to keep his job.

The Rotation

rotation (2)

red_sox_eduardo_rodriguez_3_052815

There’s no doubt that David Price will be a big factor as the Sox #1 starter this season, but question marks in the rotation still remain beyond Price. Although he will begin the season on the DL, Eduardo Rodriguez has the potential to be a solid #2 starter behind Price. Rodriguez showed flashes of greatness as a rookie last season as he went 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA. The Red Sox had high expectations for Rick Porcello last year after acquiring him and signing him to a big extension. However, his season was a disaster and there will certainly be pressure on him to bounce back this year. Some of that pressure may be relieved a little now that he is not expected to pitch at the top of the rotation.

Joe Kelly was in a similar spot after being acquired in the John Lackey trade in 2014. However, a disappointing 2015 season saw him sent down to the minors before being called up and showing some improvement by winning 8 straight starts under interim coach Torey Lovullo. Finally there is the question of Clay Buccholz, whose expectations this year have been the exact same almost every year. If healthy, Buccholz has ace-like stuff and can even be a number 1. The problem is that we are far enough along in his career that an injury at some point during the season seems almost inevitable. Will this finally be the year he gets traded?

The Prediction

This team has been hard to understand the last couple of years. They certainly have the talent and big names to be one of the best teams in the league, but have finished the last two seasons in last place. Vegas has the over/under for wins this year at 85.5, which I think is reasonable given the ups and downs of the last few seasons. My official prediction is that the Red Sox will go 88-74 and clinch an AL wild card berth.

Thanks to everyone who read this preview. Please like and share this post, and comment with feedback in the comments below.

-Jeff

 

 

 

 

Posted in MLB, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Experimenter: Thoughts and Reaction

the-experimenter

I recently watched the movie Experimenter, a drama based on the real life work of social psychologist Stanley Milgram. One of his most famous studies that still gets talked about today is the Obedience Experiments. If you are not familiar with these experiments, I strongly recommend watching this movie (available on Netflix), or reading the summary of the experiments in this link: http://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

obedience

I have always found psychology fascinating because I think understanding the human brain is the single most important factor to unlocking our full potential in the universe. Experiments like Milgram’s help us understand the psychology behind one of the most notable events in world history: The Holocaust. The first question that I think everyone asks themselves after learning about something like the obedience experiments is “What would I do in that situation?” Everyone likes to think that if they were the teacher in this experiment, they would have the autonomy to resist authority and refuse to shock people to the point of serious physical pain. Me personally? It’s really hard to say. I’m not so sure I wouldn’t be part of the 65% that shocked the learner all the way up to 450 volts.

2000px-Graph_of_Milgram-Experiment.svg

What’s fascinating about these experiments is the justifications that our mind goes through without even realizing it. When we are told to do something by an authoritative figure, our mind transfers the responsibility of our actions to the person giving the orders. “Somebody else told me to do it” becomes a perfectly reasonable explanation if we perceive the person giving orders to have legitimate authority. It’s easy for an outsider to say that someone willingly inflicting harm on another human being because they were told to do so is a bad person, but I think the issue is more complicated than the simple debate of good vs. evil. As mentioned in the film, the situation that a person is has a significant impact on how they view their role in that situation. That’s why it’s important to understand what this experiment indicates about human psychology. Many people, including Milgram himself, were shocked and discouraged by the results, but it is more important to understand what led to these results rather than react immediately to the results.

I strongly recommend anyone whose interested in psychology to watch Experimenter. It goes through several of Milgram’s experiments, not just the obedience studies, and really provides a fascinating insight into how we operate as human beings.

Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to leave feedback or questions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Science/Technology, TV/Movies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Final Four Preview and Prediction

final four

The field of 68 is down to just four teams who will battle it out for a national championship in Houston starting Saturday night. It has been a fun tournament so far with some major upsets, buzzer beaters, overtime games, and incredible performances by the best that Division I Men’s basketball has to offer. Here is my preview and prediction for this year’s Final Four.

April 2nd, 6:09 PM: (2) Villanova Wildcats vs (2) Oklahoma Sooners (+2)

nova oklahoma

Oklahoma enters this game as slight underdogs despite their 23 point beatdown of Villanova back in December. A main reason why is because a lot has changed since then, most recently Villanova’s upset of #1 overall seed Kansas in the Elite 8. After back to back disappointing tournament appearances, which include losses in the 2nd round as a 2 seed in 2014 and as a 1 seed last year, Villanova finally broke through this year to reach it’s first Final Four since losing to eventual champion North Carolina in 2009. The Wildcats have a balanced scoring attack that features five players averaging double digit points per game, led by Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Ryan Arcidiacono.

On the other end of the court, the Oklahoma Sooners feature the best player left in this year’s tournament. Buddy Hield was second in the nation in scoring this season at 25 PPG, and has been even better in the tournament by averaging 29 PPG. However, the senior guard was held to just 17 points in Oklahoma’s win over Villanova back in December. Hield also has an excellent supporting cast that features Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins. Both these teams have momentum right now but Hield is on a Stephen Curry-like tear throughout this tournament that reminds me of Kemba Walker in 2014. He will lead the Sooners to victory and a berth Monday’s national championship game. Oklahoma wins 74-69.

April 2nd, 8:49 PM: (10) Syracuse Orange vs (1) North Carolina (-9)

cuse carolina

It seems like every year there is a team that people think should not have even made the tournament that makes a run to the Final Four. This year’s version is Syracuse, who became the first 10 seed in NCAA tournament history to make the Final Four after a stunning upset of 1 seed Virginia in the Elite 8. The vaunted 2-3 zone that Syracuse plays on defense has the potential to disrupt the rhythm of any opponent. Trevor Cooney and Malachi Richardson have stepped up for Syracuse in the tournament so far, and coach Jim Boeheim’s experience and leadership have contributed to the Orange’s unlikely run.

However, standing in Boeheim’s way is an equally successful coach in Roy Williams who leads the lone 1 seed Tar Heels into this matchup as heavy favorites. UNC won both games against Syracuse this year, although it was a close one in Chapel Hill. After a disappointing season, senior point guard Marcus Paige has stepped up in the tournament, including an offensive explosion against Indiana in the Sweet 16 in which he went 6 for 9 from three. Brice Johnson has been a double double machine all year and has stepped up big time during North Carolina’s run to the Final Four. The key to this game will be UNC’s reliance and effectiveness with the 3 point shot. Syracuse’s zone will try to force the Tar Heels to take bad shots from deep in order to slow down one of the most explosive offenses in this year’s tournament. Although I think this game will be much closer than people think, I believe North Carolina is just too good and too experienced to lose this game. UNC defeats Syracuse 72-68.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION: (2) OKLAHOMA 81 (1) NORTH CAROLINA 77

Who do you think will win it all this year? Vote in the poll down below.

Posted in NCAA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why you should never spend more than $2000 on a wedding

wasted money

The average wedding cost $31,213 in 2014, and the only people to blame are the ones getting married for making such excruciatingly irresponsible financial decisions. That is why I am writing this blog to demonstrate how you can replicate the exact same wedding for less than $2000 and stop throwing money down the toilet.

wedding invite

Wedding Invitations
Avg cost: $433
Jeff’s cost: $0

This may be the most painfully obvious one in terms of cost savings. It is the year 2016. We have technology. Send out emails instead of mailing cards that people will look at once and then throw away. Emails obviously cost nothing, and you can make the invites look much nicer using a computer anyway.

wedding photographer

Photographer
Avg cost: $2556
Jeff’s cost: $0

Another painfully obvious one here. Why on earth would you pay a professional photographer to do the exact same thing that you can do for free on your phone? Don’t try to tell me the quality is that much better from a professional. Smart phone cameras are so advanced and have so many filters and editing tools that I guarantee you can replicate anything a photographer would do. You don’t need a professional to tell you how to pose. Ask a friend or family member to take pictures throughout the event, and you won’t notice a difference in photo quality.

wedding planner

Wedding Planner
Avg cost: $1973
Jeff’s cost: $0

If you are hiring someone to plan a wedding for you, you are just plain lazy. Do some research and put in some effort and the only thing wedding planning will cost you is time. It doesn’t take a genius to decide a date, book a venue, or order some food.

wedding officiant.jpg

Wedding officiant
Avg cost: $228
Jeff’s cost: $20

This one is may not be quite as obvious. However, nowadays anybody can get ordained online, so there is no need to hire a professional wedding officiant. I personally attended a wedding in which the couple’s officiant had gotten ordained online, and I would’ve never known the difference.

engagement ring

Engagement rings
Avg cost: $5855
Jeff’s cost: $100

You see that ring in the picture above? $100. Couldn’t tell the difference between that one and a similar one that costs $10,000. This one is another no-brainer to me. Many rings look the exact same and if you think spending $1000+ on an engagement ring is necessary than your relationship is more materialistic than the ring itself.

wedding dress

Wedding dress
Avg cost: $1357
Jeff’s cost: $100

The theme of this whole blog is people wasting exorbitant amounts of money on things they will only use once. The wedding dress is no different. You will only wear it one time so why not rent it? The exact same dress that costs upwards of $1000 can be rented for as low as $100.

Wedding-caterers-reasons-to-go-for-the-best-

Food
Avg cost per person: $68
Jeff’s cost per person: $20

There are plenty of options here. You could order pizza, sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts all for a reasonable price. I really don’t see a need for 5 star restaurant gourmet steak or pasta dinners. Keep it simple and give people reasonably priced options to choose from. Hiring a company to serve food is another example of how laziness is costly. It’s not hard to order food or make some yourself. Better yet, just ask everyone invited to bring a dish and you could get the cost down to $0.

cake

Wedding  cake
Avg cost: $555
Jeff’s cost: $100

You could easily get away with spending less than $100 if you decided to make the cake yourself, but if not then it’s pretty easy to find alternative wedding cakes online. Even if you want a fancy cake, there are numerous tips and tricks to slashing the cost way down. These include simple things such as making the cake a single flavor, making the cake smaller, and not going overboard with fancy frosting decorations.

wedding-music-band-21

Music
Avg cost: $5348
Jeff’s cost: $0

This one is almost the exact same as the photographer. Why would you hire people to do what anybody could do by simply pressing a few buttons on a computer? In today’s day and age there is unlimited music available on the internet and is very easy to create any playlist you want simply by spending a little time and effort. No need to hire a DJ or a live band.

wedding ceremony

Ceremony Site and Reception Venue
Avg cost: $15,907
Jeff’s cost: $0

There are churches out there that will not charge you to hold your wedding ceremony there. There are plenty of public parks and other outdoor places that you can hold your wedding ceremony as well. Even your own front or back yard will work. The reception venue makes up about $14,000 of the average cost cited above. Last time I checked, it costs approximately $0 to make a reservation at a restaurant. If you can’t find a restaurant that will allow such a large group a reservation, than just have it at your house and order food as mentioned in the food section above.

If you total everything up, what I am proposing for the cost of a wedding comes to about $1820. This is assuming 75 guests (some may consider this low, but I don’t even know 75 people in my life right now). Now I understand many people will look at several of these items and want to spend more than what I have proposed. It is a matter of personal preference, so go ahead and spend a little bit more wherever you want. However, if you go anywhere near $5000 let alone the average cost of $31,000 you are a financially irresponsible individual who cares more about the appearance of the wedding and what other people think than what is actually the smartest thing to do. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m not about to sacrifice my quality of life and half a year’s salary on a single day in which there is a 51% chance of divorce and memories of that day won’t even be positive any more.

 

Source for wedding cost statistics: http://lifehacker.com/this-chart-details-how-much-the-average-wedding-costs-1702842220

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015-16 Boston Celtics First Half Recap

celtics1

The All-Star break kicks off this weekend which means the unofficial first half of the 2015-2016 NBA season has come to close. It’s a been a good one for the Celtics, who continue to just keep getting better and better under third year coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics were 19-35 at the All-Star break in 2014 during Brad Stevens first year as head coach. Last year, the Celtics were 20-31 at the break. Now the Celtics are 32-23 and have risen all the way to 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.

IMG_3811

A large part of the Celtics success season is due to the play of All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired at the trade deadline last year and sparked the Celtics to a  playoff berth. Thomas is averaging 21.5 PPG, which ranks 12th in the NBA, in addition to 3 RPG, 6.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG while playing in all 55 games this year and starting 52 of them. Thomas’ performance earned him his first career All-Star nod as an Eastern Conference reserve and the first Celtics All-Star since the Big 3 era in 2013.

 

Isaiah Thomas isn’t the only reason for the Celtics success. In fact, what makes the Celtics so good this year is a balanced attack at every position on the offensive and defensive side. Players like Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Jonas Jerebko have all contributed significant minutes on a nightly basis to help this team win. As a team, the Celtics currently rank 4th in the NBA scoring 105.7 points per game, 7th in rebounds per game, 5th in assists per game, 2nd in steals per game, and 5th in free throw percentage. They also rank 4th in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage and are tied for first in turnovers forced per game. It is this type of balance that has helped the Celtics win 10 of their last 12 and defeat top tier teams like Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and the Clippers, and also taking Golden State to double overtime.

 

 

The Celtics will look to continue their path to the playoffs when they resume play in Utah on Friday, February 19th. They’ve been a fun to team watch all season, and if they stay healthy it will be exciting to see how far this team can go in the playoffs. With several draft picks and a ton of assets in stock, it will also be interesting to see which moves the Celtics will make with the trade deadline looming.

Can’t wait!

 

Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment