The Boston Celtics took down the Dallas Mavericks 119-110 for his or her thirty fourth win of the season on Monday evening, closing out the sport with authority and staving off a comeback try from Dallas. Boston has tallied back-to-back wins to kick off their west coast journey after their 116-107 win over the Rockets on Sunday.
By their first 42 video games, the Celtics have delivered effectively on their potential as a contender, pacing the East and the league with a 32-10 file. Boston isn’t achieved rising and studying with their roster, however how a lot has the workforce improved compared to the previous few seasons?
With an ample pattern to work with, it’s time to take a look at some numbers. Final season the Celtics had been 30-12 by way of the primary 42, and the yr earlier than that, they had been .500 with a 21-21 file earlier than their miraculous in-season turnaround beneath Ime Udoka. Each years, Boston ended up as a high two seed adopted by deep playoff runs, and based on some projections, the Celtics very effectively could end with over 60 wins on the season; per Cleaning the Glass, Boston is presently on a 63-win tempo this season.
By way of superior stats, Boston has stored the ball rolling, constructing off the previous two seasons with very related offensive, defensive, and internet scores. The largest distinction is how potent on offense the Celtics have turn into whereas nonetheless enjoying among the finest protection within the NBA, resulting in a league-leading 9.8 net rating. Boston has dominated the glass, particularly on the defensive finish, main the league in each rebounds per recreation and defensive rebounds per recreation, and so they’ve ranked high two in blocks per recreation and block makes an attempt.
This uptick is in no small half to the roster adjustments Boston remodeled the summer time, and it’s exhausting to argue with the outcomes thus far. Kristaps Porzingis has been a large addition, Jrue Vacation has achieved effectively in filling the void left by Marcus Good, and Derrick White has continued to seek out one other degree to his recreation on each side of the court docket as a key cog within the Celtics beginning lineup. With All-Star weekend slightly below a month away, it’s additionally price noting that Boston’s beginning 5 is getting some severe recognition throughout the board.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead their respective conferences within the third fan returns of #NBAAllStar Voting offered by AT&T.
Followers account for 50% of the vote to determine All-Star starters. NBA gamers and a media panel account for 25% every. pic.twitter.com/fyGeQXgEhH
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 18, 2024
After 13 seasons, the Celtics have an actual probability of getting greater than two All-Stars with Vacation, White, Brown, Tatum, and Porzingis all within the top-10 in votes at their place by way of January 18th. If Boston has three or extra gamers named to the All-Star Recreation, will probably be for the primary time for the reason that Huge Three period trio of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
From 2007-2011, the Celtics had a minimum of three gamers each season earn All-Star honors, with 4 gamers making the ASG roster between Allen, Garnett, Pierce and Rondo in 2011. That yr, Boston tied the file for many All-Stars from one workforce, a feat that has occurred 9 instances in NBA historical past, most just lately being in 2018 with the Golden State Warriors. As of now, the Celtics have the possibility to make NBA historical past if their total beginning 5 makes the ultimate minimize. The NBA will announce the All-Star Recreation starters this Thursday, January twenty fifth.
Past the roster adjustments and general efficiency thus far this season, the largest query is the mentality of this workforce and breaking out of dangerous habits, together with the workforce’s late-game offense and execution. After their slender loss to the reigning champion Denver Nuggets, Boston’s late recreation offense grew to become topic of conversations once more after a number of missed photographs. It’s a good concern to have, particularly with Boston’s observe file of late recreation collapses in years previous. So, how have the Celtics fared thus far within the clutch?
By the primary 42 this season, Boston is 13-8 in clutch recreation conditions, tied for fifth most wins within the league. By comparability, the Celtics had been 12-5 in clutch video games final yr and a dreadful 8-16 in clutch video games through the 2021-22 season. When taking a look at clutch conditions throughout the last minute, Boston had a file of 9-5 in 2022-23 and 9-8 this season, simply barely above .500; the Celtics are additionally 2-3 in overtime. Regardless of this, the Celtics even have a greater clutch internet score this season than the final two years, and even with issues over late recreation offense, Boston’s clutch offensive score was high 5 within the league for the primary half of the season.
The variety of clutch video games is barely regarding, however which may be a byproduct of a troublesome schedule. Boston was tied with the Orlando Magic for 5th strongest strength of schedule by way of the primary half of the season; as for his or her remaining video games, Boston has the best remaining power of schedule outdoors of the Magic, per Tankathon. Both approach you slice it, the Celtics have stored discovering themselves in shut video games, nevertheless it ought to assist that their schedule softens up fairly a bit after January.
General, the Boston Celtics have been markedly improved this season, and so they nonetheless have ample time to enhance when it comes to chemistry and rhythm with the second half of the schedule already underway. Even with the entire success the Celtics have, it appears like this unit has one other degree of basketball it might attain, and it’ll be enjoyable watching them attempt to unlock it in time for the postseason.