The Boston Celtics had a busy slate final week, going through a four-game slate that included a house date with the reigning NBA Champion Denver Nuggets. They’ve entered the canine days of the common season holding onto the league’s finest document, although they misplaced their residence win streak within the course of. Let’s check out the way it all performed out
Boston Celtics, Week 13: 3-1 document, +35 differential
W @ Toronto, 105-96
W vs San Antonio, 117-98
L vs Denver, 102-100
W @ Houston, 116-107
Effectively, it needed to occur ultimately — the Boston Celtics have misplaced a sport on the TD Backyard. That wonderful zero within the loss column is gone, they usually now sit at simply 20-1 on their residence court docket. Season’s over, everyone. Would possibly as nicely pack it up and go residence.
In all seriousness, although, there’s in all probability not a crew you’d relatively lose the streak to than these Denver Nuggets. The defending champs have continued to play unbelievable basketball this season, and Nikola Jokic continues to take care of a declare on the title of “finest participant on this planet.” They’re a worthy foe, and received an amazing sport, all with out the bags that might have accompanied the streak being damaged by a crew like Philadelphia or Miami.
You’ll be able to’t win ‘em all, however to the Celtics’ credit score, they did win the remaining. The opposite three video games on this week’s slate didn’t current a lot drama, as Boston dealt with Toronto, San Antonio and Houston by a number of possessions every. They ended one other participant’s Toronto tenure, beating the Raptors in Pascal Siakam’s closing sport with the crew — extra on that quickly — just some weeks after doing the identical to OG Anunoby. Victor Wembanyama got here to city and supplied some thrills, however a sound gameplan and spectacular begin from Luke Kornet held the Spurs at bay. Kristaps Porzingis scored 32 factors and blocked 5 photographs to finish the season sweep of Ime Udoka and the Houston Rockets.
These are, actually, the canine days of the NBA common season. The vacations are far within the rear view now, and the All-Star Break remains to be a month away. It’s a grind, and this week felt very grind-y. Not less than the Celtics are grinding out wins.
Participant of the Week: Luke Kornet
4 GP, 19.8 MPG, 5.5 PTS (85% FG), 5.8 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 1.8 BLK, +10
It’s nearly tempting to take Jordan Walsh right here, isn’t it? The rookie second spherical decide made his NBA debut this week, and although he didn’t discover his first NBA factors, the Boston crowd went absolutely ballistic for him. Plus, he’s the NBA chief in rebounds per 48 minutes. Actually makes you suppose, huh?
That’s much less of a joke that it appears. That is the precise form of week to make an off-kilter decide, to be trustworthy. Everybody had a pair superb video games; there have been some large Jrue Vacation scoring nights, and Porzingis had the large night time in opposition to Houston. No one dominated the complete week, although. It’s a very good week to solid an eye fixed to the bench, which at all times results in a few of my favourite picks on this part.
With that in thoughts, I’m fairly a fan of Kornet right here. He had certainly one of his busiest weeks of the season, and acquitted himself very nicely. It’s laborious to ask far more out of your third heart than a taking pictures share of almost 85% and 7 blocked photographs, in spite of everything. Kornet was referred to as into motion because the crew continues to rotate nights off for Porzingis and Horford, which led to his first begin of the season within the San Antonio sport. It was, for my cash, his finest night time with the crew. The Celtics clearly wished measurement to counter the incomprehensible size of Wembanyama, and Kornet earned the nod alongside Horford in a really Daniel Theis-like function. His closing line was a really Theis-like six factors, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and three blocks.
Kornet continues to impress me this season. Issues that the Celtics completely want to search out an improve amongst their frontcourt reserves are diminishing quickly as he retains delivering. He’s enjoying inside himself, thriving in his function as a finisher and rim protector. His scoring has been environment friendly and his protection has been greater than only a gimmick. No avenue needs to be left unexplored because the commerce deadline approaches, however Kornet has made the selections a lot much less essential with how he’s been enjoying.
The Parquet Play: The braveness of Payton Pritchard
I feel we should always all strategy life with the sheer, unmitigated confidence of 1 Payton Michael “Jordan” Pritchard. Say what you need about him, this man actually believes he can do something he needs on an NBA court docket. I, for one, discover that lovely.
It simply goes to point out that these highlights don’t at all times should be refined or instructive. Typically it’s simply a completely comical shot you could’t cease watching on a loop.
Across the League: Toronto cleans home, and Indiana lands the large fish
It appears there’s simply no time to sit down round and look forward to February’s commerce deadline to reach this yr. These groups are rearing to go — notably Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors. Nearly a month after transport off OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks, the Raptors have made one other splash on the transaction checklist, sending All-Star ahead Pascal Siakam to Indiana in trade for Bruce Brown and three first spherical picks, with the Pacers assured in inking him to a long-term deal this offseason.
As if in response to criticism of their basic inaction in latest deadlines, Toronto has been firing away this time round. Siakam was the crown jewel of this pool of commerce targets, with Anunoby not far behind. Each are already gone greater than two weeks forward of the buzzer, and extra strikes — Brown? Chris Boucher? — are more likely to come. The return for these offers will be questioned, particularly contemplating the firsts that Siakam introduced again don’t look particularly invaluable proper now, however a minimum of they’ve chosen a route, and assertively so.
So what does this imply from Indiana’s perspective? Effectively, I take pleasure in myself a Beyblade joke as a lot as the following man, however the fact is that Siakam in all probability qualifies as underrated by the NBA sphere at this time limit. He’s a flexible ahead who’s going to raise them on either side of the ground, a reliable All-Star who brings much-needed expertise to a younger crew. Rick Carlisle’s protection sorely wants a rangy wing defender like this, and the match alongside Haliburton needs to be seamless. Their means to signal Siakam to a long-term extension this offseason will clearly shade how we’ll look again on this deal, however the basketball match is sensible.
Does this transfer elevate Indiana into the higher tier of the East? Effectively, no. Indiana has a methods to go but in the event that they’re going to catch Boston, Milwaukee or Philadelphia. Siakam is a plug-and-play star who makes them higher immediately, however there’s nonetheless development that must be executed from a roster that’s broadly very younger earlier than they’re contenders. This can be a step ahead, although, and I feel the second tier of the East — Cleveland, New York, Miami — needs to be side-eying what the Pacers are constructing, particularly if Siakam inks a brand new deal. Indy’s coming.
Up Subsequent: Stars aplenty
Three video games lie forward of us this week, beginning with Monday’s stable win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics get a little bit of a reprieve after the victory, having fun with two days off earlier than a date with Jimmy Butler and the Warmth. This a rest-imbalance sport, with the Warmth enjoying the second night time of a back-to-back, although they don’t should journey in between just like the Celtics did earlier than the Milwaukee loss. From there, Boston will return residence to spherical out the season sequence with the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s a slate loaded with star wing gamers, and we’ll be again to interrupt all of it down subsequent week.