The Boston Celtics did not look like title contenders after 50 games of the 2021-22 regular season. The team was .500 and there was talk of potentially breaking up the star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to provide more balance. Instead of succumbing to the noise and past failures, the Celtics managed to rattle off one of the most impressive stretches in modern NBA history.
Boston finished the season 51-31, good for the second seed in the East. The Celtics drew the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, a matchup they could’ve potentially avoided depending on outcomes on the final day of the season. Boston drew some criticism for setting up this series, but the Celtics showed they were the better team in convincing fashion with a sweep of the Nets.
The second-round series against the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks truly pushed Boston to the edge. The Celtics went into Milwaukee for Game 6 down 3-2 and turned in one of the all-time great road performances, setting up a home Game 7. Boston won that contest easily to make the conference finals.
The Celtics lost the opening game of the conference finals to the Miami Heat and fell just short of rallying in a Game 3 loss. Boston seemed to be set to advance with a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6, but the Celtics dropped the ball and let Jimmy Butler go off for one of the greatest playoff performances ever. The Celtics did maintain their streak of not losing back-to-back games in the postseason, winning Game 7 and the series to set up a Finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors.