The Celtics are officially on a four-game win streak, making them perfect since coming back from the All Star break. They took down the Pistons and the Knicks in a back to back, then came home and got the two easy wins they needed. This team is rejuvenated!
Contributions from Everyone
This Celtics team is looking more and more like the team we saw in the beginning of the season. You know, the one that went streaking? But actually, they may be slightly better than that team, as it appears that EVERYTHING is clicking for these guys on both ends of the ball. The defensive spark has been provided by Smart and Irving has once again proven himself a leader and true PG by breathing life into the offense. Just last night, the Cs provided a good old- fashioned butt-whooping, smashing the Hornets 134-106. Irving had 34 of those points in just 25 minutes of play (UNREAL) going 4-6 from three. Baynes also stepped up with 12 points and some grade-A defense. Monroe filled in for the injured Theis and went 6-9 with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Brown, Smart, Rozier and Morris continue to do what they do of course. And although Horford and Tatum only recorded a combined 12 points, they were a +27 and +18, respectively. THIS is a team you don’t want to see in a 7-game series!
Next Up: Houston
The Houston Rockets haven’t lost a game since January 26th… holy crap. They are rolling and leading the defending champ Warriors in the West by .5 game. The last time they played the Cs it looked like it was over in the first half, scoring 62 points in the first half. They unfortunately didn’t hold up in the scoring department, nor in defense. The Cs out scored them 61-36 in the second half to take it 99-98. But the Rockets won’t make the same mistake twice. They will be on their home court this time with a healthy Chris Paul. And I don’t if anyone has been paying attention, but when Harden AND Paul play, this team doesn’t lose. Well, they do, but it’s extremely rare. Both teams are better this time around, but both will definitely have their hands full.
Can The Celtics Win This Match-up?
They can win any match-up they want, as long as they fight for it. But they need a few things to happen if they want to take the series against Houston.
- Defense! They must defend the Rockets like they defended the last four teams they played. Giving up those easy baskets in the paint will get them beat, as well as the three. Make Harden, Paul, Ariza and Capela work for their shots.
- Bench. This group has made quite the turnaround. The production of the bench is key here. The Rockets seem to depend heavily on their starters so if our second unit can outscore theirs, we’ll be in business.
- Starters. They have to continue to do their job too. Stifling the Rockets Starters on defense and outscoring them as much as possible will be tremendous. I’m not worried about Irving or Brown, but Tatum has been in a bit of a slump lately. I want him to have a big game, or at least get back on track offensively.
Watch the three-game road trip begin this Saturday when the Celtics take on the Rockets in primetime. Tune into ABC at 8:30 pm, with pregame coverage starting an hour before on NBC Sports Boston.
The Celtics have a two game home stand that starts tonight before they head out to Houston to face the Rockets. I know they are hoping to continue this winning streak, replicating what they were able to do their last two games. Well, they struggled a bit against the Knicks, but thy still came out with a win.
Return of Marcus Smart
Marcus sat out for a while with a hand injury he suffered on the west coast road trip in late January. His name was also thrown around during the trade deadline, with the Grizzlies hoping to get him for either a 1st round pick or Tyreke Evans. Now most thought that would have been ‘smart’, considering Evans averages about 20 points a game. I bet those fools are glad that Danny loves Marcus too much to give him up, because our defense has improved dramatically since his return. I know it’s only been two games, but you can see a difference in the team as a whole. Just go back and watch the end of that game against Detroit, where 8 missed shots were forced by the Cs — and Smart was on the floor for that. My point is, our defensive flame is back and burning bright.
The next five games look something like this for the Celtics:
- 2/26, v. Grizzlies
- 2/28 v. Hornets
- 3/3 @ Rockets
- 3/5@ Bulls
- 3/8 @ Timberwolves
The first two are winnable, and with the production of the bench as of late, the starters shouldn’t have to exert much energy. This is key with the road trip coming up. The Rockets and Timberwolves are no joke, even though the Celtics have beaten them AND held them under 100 points. The Rockets are nearly unstoppable when Paul, Harden and Capela play. The Wolves will be without Butler, but that won’t make a difference because the team is rife with talent. The Cs are going to need Monroe to shine in these games, especially with Baynes dealing with an elbow. He can’t keep missing those put backs!
Toronto’s next five games are VERY winnable. But I don’t expect the Pistons and Wizards to go down without a fight. Besides, the Raptors lost in OT to the Bucks, so they aren’t invincible. Though, I will add that if the playoffs started today, Toronto gets Miami and Boston gets Philly. I mean, of course we want the #1 seed, but as long as our Kryptonite sits at #8, we’ll take the #2.
The Celtics came home on Friday to host the Orlando Magic after a heartbreaking loss in Miami on Wednesday, which ended their win streak at 16. It was looking like a blow-out, with the Cs leading by as much as 30 points at one point. They ended up winning 118-103. The defense did reign supreme, despite the score (which was due to a handful of threes by Speights). All of the Orlando starters were held to under 15 points, and so was their bench.
Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 30 points in the first half, in which the Celtics put up a whopping 73 points. Jaylen Brown added 13 of his own and the bench contributed 49, which is they’ve produced this season. Terry Rozier scored a career high 23 points and Aron Baynes had himself a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds). And although I wanted more offensive production from Al Horford in terms of points, he was able to boost the offense without doing so. He had 10 assists, getting his teammates the ball and getting back to Celtic’s basketball.
All of the starters were able to play under 30 minutes last night, which is fantastic considering they lay again tonight in their first back-to-back of the season. They will head to Indiana to face the Pacers, who have won five straight. The Pacers may be without Oladipo, as he left last night’s game with a knee injury. The Cs will be without Marcus Morris and possibly Jaylen Brown. Morris will not travel with the team and rest is knee, while Brown will be attending his friend’s funeral. He said if he doesn’t make it back in time he won’t play; I say just give him the day off. He needs it and definitely deserves it.
Celtics @ Pacers tonight @ 8. Will the Cs end the Pacers streak? Tune in to find out
If you were watching the Celtics game last night, no doubt you almost had a heart attack as you watched this game go into OT. Kyrie Irving had 47 points (10 in OT) and Jaylen Brown had 22, while Tatum and Smart (yes, Marcus Smart) added 15 and 12 of their own.
Let’s be real, this was not a well-played game except for the first and the fourth quarter (and OT obviously). On the offensive side of the ball, shots just weren’t falling for the second unit, and that’s what really killed the Cs. Brad left them out there a little bit longer than he wanted, but I think it was because he wanted to see if they could find a rhythm. That unfortunately was not the case and once again it was Kyrie to the rescue. But I don’t want to overlook the effort of the defense. Though they gave up more points than they wanted to, they kept the Mavericks well under 30% three-point shooting (21.2% to be exact) and 40% overall. The defense of the three was key last night (because the Mavs love to shoot threes) and the Celtics were successful in doing so, along with dropping 13 of their own.
The Celtics know that other teams are going to be coming for them EXTRA hard to try and spoil this streak (which is the fourth longest in Cs history). The Mavs gave them everything they had but came up short in the fourth/OT. The Cs head to Miami Wednesday night to play the Heat, who they already defeated 96-90 in October. The Heat have been a bit sporadic lately and recently lost at home to the Pacer 120-95. But make no mistake, they saw that Mavs game and will be looking for their own spoil of the streak.
If the Celtics want to avoid what happened in Dallas, they MUST shoot better, and specifically the second unit. They’re not going to be able to defend every possession without giving up points, so there needs to be some scoring to offset that. Rozier needs to find his stride and get those baskets, and they’re going to need more than just rebounds from Baynes and Thies. But most importantly, Al Horford needs to start heating up again. He has been ice cold the past two games, combining for only 10 points. Though he has had 14 rebounds and 13 assists, there needs to be more offensive production from him. And of course, the team needs to continue to play DEFENSE. Oh, and another thing that wouldn’t hurt: practicing free throws (Jaylen and Marcus *cough cough*). If you’re going to draw the foul and get to the line, you need to hit the free throws (I still love these guys though).
Watch the Celtics go for 17 straight Wednesday @ 7:30 pm!
The Celtics have won 15 straight games after defeating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday night. It started off just like any other game: a few early baskets, then came the struggle. Shots just weren’t falling for the Cs and they kept getting called for three-second violations. Meanwhile, the Hawks were hitting every one of their shots (contested or not) and at one point, they were up 16.
But of course, Kyrie and Jaylen do what they do best: rally. Irving scored 30 points (as the masked man) while Brown had a career-high 27. Al Horford had a rough game, going 3-11 (1-5 from three) with just 7 points. It was okay though, because Marcus Morris contributed 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter to bring the Cs within six, and Jayson Tatum added 14 of his own (along with TWO MONSTER DUNKS).
Yes, they keep winning but according to head coach Brad Stevens, this streak isn’t as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I mean, obviously if you’re a fan you’d say “What?! Why not? Winning this many games in a row isn’t easy, so it has to mean something, right?” Well, Brad’s reasoning is simple: they haven’t been playing well. They find ways to pull out the win, but there hasn’t been any consistency. As I mentioned earlier, the Cs always start off on a short scoring run, struggle for a while, go on another scoring run to tie/get close, then Kyrie comes in the fourth and closes it out. It’s great to see your team win, but there needs to be some more consistency throughout. But it’s a young team with a lot of energy and heart, led by a more than qualified coach (who should get Coach of the Year! He honestly should have gotten it last year but was robbed). I’m not worried, and neither should any other Celtics fan.
The Celtics travel to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Monday night @ 8:00, looking for their 16th win. Don’t miss it!
Remember all of those people who said the Celtics couldn’t beat the Warriors because they just weren’t good enough? That their 13-game winning streak didn’t mean much because their opponents were easy (a paraphrasing of Charles Barkley’s words during the pregame show on TNT)? Well, they were obviously wrong! The Cs stunned the defending champions, defeating them 92-88. Yes, you read that right. The Cs held the #1 offense in the league to 88 points, the lowest the team has ever scored when their ‘Big 4’ start (Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green).
The Warriors blew a 17 point lead and it is the second time this year that they’ve blown a lead that big. They fell apart in the second half and made a lot of mistakes. But let’s give credit to the Celtic’s defense that forced those mistakes, namely due to Marcus Smarts’ defensive play in the third quarter. Golden State was held to 40.2% shooting and 31.3% from three. Now, here comes to funny part: the Celtics only shot 32.9% from the floor and 21.9% from three… and they still won! They should definitely be proud of themselves for pulling out the 14th straight win, but the Warriors have to be absolutely embarrassed.
Jaylen Brown, who played after the death of a very close friend, provided the inspiration his team needed to keep fighting. He was the difference maker in the third, hitting a few clutch threes to help the Cs go on a 19-0 run and eventually finishing with 22 points (along with a swift steal off of Steph Curry and monster dunk early on). Kyrie Irving ditched his mask late in the game and finished with 16 points, making some clutch free throws late. And don’t forget Horford (18 points), Morris (12 points) and Tatum (12 points) who also came through for the team after only having 12 points off of the bench. Two of Tatum’s 12 points were extremely significant, coming with just seconds left on the clock to seal the deal and put the Cs up by four.
The ‘Big4’ looked pretty small if you ask me. Steph Curry was held to 9 points, shooting 3-14 overall and 2-9 from three. Klay Thompson hit two late three’s that put the Warriors up late, but it wasn’t enough. Draymond Green only had 11 points (and surprisingly no technicals). Kevin Durant’s 24-point performance was the only exception, but didn’t matter this time due to below average offensive production by his teammates. Being the #1 offense didn’t help last night, and there will be other times when it won’t. You can’t just hope to outscore opponents (the Warriors have given up 100+ points in 12 of their 15 games). At some point, defense has to become a priority as well, and Brad Stevens’ Celtics have the perfect formula. Who’s the best team in the league now?
The Celtics defeated Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets Friday night 90-87 to grab their 11th straight win. It was a hard fought matchup, as the Celtics were without Horford for the second straight game due to concussion and they lost Irving early after taking an elbow to the head. He was held out for the rest of the game to be monitored for concussion–like symptoms, breaking the hearts of many Celtics fans. The team was down 57-41 at halftime and it was looking bleak. But they were able to rally and outscore the Hornets in the third and fourth quarters to win the game. Shane Larkin stepped up and had 16 points off the bench, while Jayson Tatum returned to add his own 16.
The Celtics host the Raptors at 3:30 today. Al Horford will be back for the Cs, while Irving will sit out. He sustained a minor facial fracture after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from teammate Aron Baynes and will be fitted for a mask. The Celtics look to extend their win streak to 12 without Irving and show people once again that they can get the job done without (a) key player(s).