Celtics

Celtics

The Boston Celtics fell to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in a thriller, 114-112.

Here are three instant overreactions to the C's loss, which brings them to 39-17 on the season.

1. Not trading for Anthony Davis last summer was a blessing for the Celtics.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Anthony Davis-to-the-Celtics rumors dominated the headlines in Boston both during and after last year's disappointing Celtics season. It turns out that not pulling the trigger on a deal for the superstar big man was one of the best decisions Danny Ainge has made as C's general manager.

A trade for AD likely would have cost Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and/or Marcus Smart, and draft capital. We'll never know how a move for Davis would have impacted the C's, but we do know what Boston has going for it right now is pretty special.

Tatum has taken over the lead role, and his supporting cast of Brown, Hayward, Smart, Kemba Walker, and Daniel Theis have done a tremendous job around him. It's frightening to think about what the Celtics' core would look like right now had Ainge overreacted to the letdown 2018-19 campaign. Fortunately, C's fans don't have to live in that reality.

This isn't to take anything away from AD, who had 32 points and 13 rebounds plus a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help L.A. earn the victory, it's simply a credit to what this year's Celtics group has been able to accomplish without him.

 


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2. Celtics can survive without Kemba Walker.

Verdict: Overreaction

The Celtics offense has been firing on all cylinders these last couple of games with their star point guard sidelined.

In Friday's win over the Timberwolves, they had four players with 25-plus points. Sunday, they had five players in double-figures and another sensational performance from Tatum.

As great as they've looked, they'll need Walker to return sooner rather than later. His presence likely would have been the difference-maker in Sunday's loss.

Fortunately, it appears Walker won't be out for too long. Head coach Brad Stevens issued an encouraging update Sunday on Walker's knee, saying he doesn't expect it to be a long-term issue.

3. We can officially call Jayson Tatum a superstar.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

We were hesitant to rush to call Tatum a superstar following his sensational performance vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, but we're no longer going to hold back. Tatum has earned the superstar label.

The 21-year-old tied his career-high in points with 41 on the day (12-for-21 shooting). This kind of dominance from Tatum has become a regularity, and the All-Star has emerged as the clear No. 1 option on his team.

He'll still have to prove he can carry Boston through this year's NBA playoffs, but there's no reason to believe he's incapable of doing so. Sit back and enjoy Tatum's rise to superstardom, because he's only just begun his ascent.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.