By Nick Adamopoulos –
The Boston Celtics are intertwined with the City of Boston. The team, the logo, and the mascot all connect to the city’s deep and historic Irish roots. Lucky the Leprechaun and the team jerseys include a three-leaf shamrock alluding to the “Luck of the Irish.” However, since winning the NBA Championship in 2008 and raising Banner 17 to the TD Garden Rafters, the Boston Celtics have been anything but lucky.
There certainly have been some instances of “luck” since 2008. The team and former general Manager Trader Danny Ainge were able to rob the Brooklyn Nets of four first round draft picks in 2013. Those picks led to Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum becoming cornerstones of the franchise. Ainge was also able to sign Brad Stevens away from Butler, and Stevens has become one of the most respected young basketball minds in the league.
While the team has had some good fortune, the team’s lack of luck has been substantial. The main cause of the bad luck, the Celtics cannot avoid injuries. In 2009, the year after raising Banner 17, the team lost Kevin Garnett to a right knee injury. The injury led to the Celtics being bounced from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic. In 2010, the Celtics found their way back to the NBA finals against their long-time rival Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics entered Game 6 of the 2010 finals up three games to two. During the first quarter of game 6, center Kendrick Perkins went down with a leg injury. The Lakers went on to win Game 6 by 22 points. Without Perkins in the paint for Game 7, the Celtics lost 83-79. While the Celtics were able to win Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen their first NBA championships in 2008, the franchise and its fans were left to wonder “what if ” following the 2009 and 2010 seasons due to bad injury luck.
Fast forward a few years, and the injury woes continue for the Celtics. In 2021, the Celtics lost Jaylen Brown for the entirety of the Playoffs due to a left wrist injury. The injury led to the Celtics limping into the playoffs and being eliminated. And just this week, the Celtics found out that starting center Robert Williams has torn his meniscus and will be out for several weeks. The injury to the team’s star defensive center (Williams should be first or second team all defense) occurred over the weekend when the Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves and found themselves alone in first place in the Eastern Conference. Since the injury was reported, the Celtics lost their first game without Williams to the Toronto Raptors, a game in which Brown and Tatum both sat out to rest their own injuries. The Celtics enter the last two weeks of the season now in fourth place with games against the Heat, Bulls, Bucks, and Grizzlies left on their schedule before the playoffs start.
Maybe the team is able to come together over the next two weeks and carry the positive momentum of the last two months into their first-round playoff series. Maybe the team is able to get past their first-round opponent and can have Williams return for round two of the playoffs. Maybe two months from now we will forget everything that has happened over the last week as we watch the Celtics play in the NBA Finals at the TD Garden.
Or maybe the Luck of the Irish has worn thin for the organization; leaving fans once again wondering “what if”.