Draymond Green gets brutally honest on Celtics’ major problem amid playoff run

Tony Nguyen | Boston Celtics
May 14, 2024

The Boston Celtics have been the most dominant team in the NBA this season, but there is one issue they just can’t seem to shake as far as the playoffs are concerned: winning at home.

Not winning on the road; winning at home.

The Celtics are just 15-15 at TD Garden over their last 30 home playoff games. Meanwhile, they have gone 17-7 on the road during that span. You would figure the number would be flipped, and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is puzzled by it.

The Celtics have gone undefeated on the road in these playoffs, routing the Miami Heat in Games 3 and 4 of their first-round playoff series and then thumping the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Saturday night.

However, they have gone 3-2 at home, losing a Game 2 head-scratcher to the Heat and getting blasted by the Cavs in Game 2 of this current series.

What’s incredibly strange about all of this is that Boston went 37-4 at home during the regular season this year, so winning in Beantown has not been a problem for this time throughout the season. It has only surfaced in the playoffs, much like previous years.

The Celtics should win the championship this season

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) react after a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first quarter during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We have been waiting for the C’s to hang their 18th banner for quite some time now.

In 2018, injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward stunted what would have been an almost surefire appearance in the NBA Finals, although they probably would have lost to the Warriors regardless. Locker-room issues then derailed the Celtics the following season. During the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign, Boston lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The following year, the C’s barely made the playoffs and lost in the first round. They then made a surprise run to the finals in 2022, only to fall to Golden State after building a 2-1 lead. The Celtics would proceed to rally from a 3-0 deficit against Miami in the conference finals last spring, only to lose—at home—in Game 7.

Now, here we are in 2024, and Boston just rattled off 64 regular-season wins. Jayson Tatum has played like an MVP candidate most of the year. Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis (who is currently sidelined with a calf injury) have been phenomenal secondary options. Jrue Holiday has been one of the best defensive players in the league. Supporting pieces like Derrick White, Al Horford and Payton Pritchard have been terrific.

There really shouldn’t be any more excuses, and if the C’s really want to punch their championship ticket in June, they need to start finding ways to win at home. That’s right: finding wins to win at home, which is such an odd statement.

The Celtics have been the best team in basketball by a wide margin this season. Yes, the Denver Nuggets are the defending champions. Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves look formidable (who would have thought I would be writing that sentence?). But it has been Boston who has been the NBA’s most dominant ballclub throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

Anything short of an NBA title would be a failure for the C’s this season.

The C’s may still be a pretty young team, as Tatum, Brown and Porzingis are all in their 20s. But at some point, the Celtics are going to have to finally break through and establish themselves.

Green thinks that the Warriors themselves caused this mental block by the Celtics by beating them twice in Boston during the 2022 NBA Finals, including the series-clinching Game 6. Maybe Green is right, but it’s also important to remember that the C’s lost crucial home games in the playoffs that year before they even played Golden State.

Whatever the reason is for the Celtics’ home malaise, they need to break out of it, and fast.