All-Star Analysts

At the Buzzer: Rising Celtics, Allen’s injury, and Most Improved candidates

Published March 9, 2022, 8:25 PMCamille Clarin, Chris Newsome

All-Star Analysts talk about the surging Celtics, how Jarrett Allen’s injury impacts the Cavaliers, contenders for the Most Improved Player award, and more!

Time to talk about the Celtics. What's the reason behind their surge?

Camille Clarin: Defense, ball movement, and [Jayson] Tatum. The East is all over the place and the Celtics have managed to turn things around and find themselves in the fifth spot because of those three reasons. Their roster has plenty of versatile defenders leaving little to no room for mismatches. Then with Brown accepting his new role as their No. 2, there’s less fighting over shots and more facilitating around the court. Additionally, with Tatum taking over as the Celtics’ No. 1 guy, he’s free to take all the shots he wants, giving him 40-point games like every other day. The Boston boys are finding their stride and with the remaining games they have lined up, they could really shake things up in the East

Chris Newsome: Defense. The Celtics have accepted the fact that they have to stop teams to win games. They have had plenty of close buzzer-beater losses this year but they have turned to embracing getting stops. Letting the defense create your offense has become the new standard in Boston.

True or False: The Lakers will make the playoffs

Camille: False, Lakers are not making the playoffs. They’re not even guaranteed a Play-In [Tournament] spot at the rate they’re performing. Plus 2016 LeBron is long gone which means no one’s capable of pulling off a miracle to sneak them in. 

Chris: True. I still believe it is a possibility. But they need to start putting together a solid streak of wins NOW! The new-looking Pelicans have had some glimpses of good chemistry as well, but I believe LeBron James will be able to pull it off and get the Lakers ready in time for the playoffs. 

Does Jarrett Allen’s injury take the Cavs out of the playoffs?

Camille: Allen’s injury definitely hurts the Cavs’ chances, but I think they have a solid enough roster to pull it off. There’s no doubt Darius Garland is giving it his all but Evan Mobley is going to have to step up and keep a double-double average to give them a fighting chance.

Chris: Definitely hurts their chances of making a deep run but I still think this Cavs team is for real. Now is the perfect opportunity to see what Evan Mobley can do because he will be the one that has to step up big-time in Jarrett Allen's absence. 

Who are your Most Improved Player candidates?

Camille: Everyone knows the heavy favorite is Ja and whoever disagrees is just crazy. My other candidate is Darius Garland. With the way he’s carried the Cavs plus his recent 41-point game, he’s definitely not one to be counted out. 

Chris: Ja Morant is a MUST. Darius Garland continues to impress me. The Evolution of Dejounte Murray has been fun to watch. And Anfernee Simons can flat out score the ball.

Kyrie Irving or Russell Westbrook: Who would you rather interview?

Camille: I’d rather interview Kyrie Irving because I am genuinely curious about how he makes all his decisions and formulates his opinions. I also want to know how he still performs at a high level when he only gets to play limited games. The guy stays game ready and I want to know his secret for that.

Chris: I’d personally rather interview Kyrie. To me, he’s like the basketball version of a Jedi. I feel like he is truly genuine to who he is and can be misunderstood a lot. Based on his overall game, it's fair to say he’s one of the most skilled players in the WORLD!