It’s been a long time since anyone has been able to say that the Boston Celtics are the best team in the NBA and believe it. Over the past two decades, the franchise has endured some tough times that hurt their chances to win their 17th NBA Championship. Len Bias died 48 hours after being picked second in the 1986 draft from a cocaine overdose. In 1997, the Celtics had the top spot in the NBA Lottery draft and were ready to select Tim Duncan with the number one pick, but the ping-pong balls did not bounce in their favor, and the Spurs ended up with the one pick while the Celtics had to settle for the third. Bad trades, numerous coaches, and even the demolition of the historic Boston Garden have all taken place since the last time we’ve called the Celtics the NBA’s best team.
Luckily for the city of Boston, the Celtics are once again the best team in the NBA, and the quest for their 17th Championship is in motion.
Halfway through the 82-game season, the Celtics find themselves with the NBA’s best record of 34-7. Already they have surpassed last seasons win total of a dismal 24 games, and hope to win 60 games for the first time since the ’85-’86 Championship season when they won a record high of 67 games. This year’s team will challenge that mark and hopefully finish with the same end result, a title.
How is it possible for a team to have such a drastic turn-around from one year to the next? Two words, Kevin Garnett.
KG joined the Celtics in an off-season trade that sent a lot young talent to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 12-year NBA veteran. The Celtics parted ways with talented players such as Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, and Sebastian Telefair. So far the deal has made Celtics general manager Danny Ainge look like a genius, and will make up for the countless number of awful deals he has made in the past.
The Celtics also acquired 11-year NBA veteran Ray Allen during the off-season. Allen is 2nd all-time in career 3-pt field goals made (2,016), only behind retired SG Reggie Miller (2,464), who the Celtics had actually expressed interest in after the 2006-2007 season came to a close. Miller decided to stay retired, and is probably regretting the decision since he was never a part of an NBA championship team.
The team chemistry this year is very strong, especially on the defense end of the floor. The Celtics have been holding opponents to a league low of 88.2 PPG. Newly hired assistant coach Tom Thibodeau preaches the concept of team-defense, and the Celtics have all bought into it averaging almost 9 steals a game, and forcing 16.6 turnovers a night.
Offensively, the team has also excelled at scoring averaging 99 PPG. The ‘Big Three,’ Garnett, Allen, and Paul Pierce average 57.6 points a game. You will not find a more dynamic scoring trio anywhere in the league. Garnett will beat you with his low post game, if Allen is a few steps inside of half-court it is in his shooting range, and Pierce has one of the quickest first steps in the game which is so hard to defend off the drive.
The Celtics have hit a little mid-season snag, only going 5-5 in their last 10 games but they have also not been 100% healthy. Garnett and Allen have both missed multiple games due to minor injuries or flu-like symptoms. Once the team gets back to full strength they will get back to their dominant ways and roll off another ten game winning streak.
Head Coach Doc Rivers has done a decent job of handling his team this year. It’s always easier to coach talent, than it is to coach developing talent. We saw that last year, but one thing Doc has done a nice job at is working in bench players in the middle of games to make sure that the starters are well rested and can go at full strength late in games.
If the Celtics can stay healthy, knock on wood, they should finish the regular season with the best record in the NBA. The Eastern Conference playoffs could feature some interesting match-ups, especially an Orlando vs. Celtics final. The teams have already met three times this year with Orlando taking two of the three games.
Make sure to contact Ace Ticket today so that you can be apart of history in the making as the Celtics make their push towards Green-17! Go Celtics!