The Celtics haven't lost a game by double-digits since they fell 89-77 to the Cavaliers nearly two months ago (December 15). Every other team in the league has multiple defeats by 10 or more in that time (yes, even the Warriors). There's a reason for this--Boston always fights to the end, no matter what.
Nobody else does that.
All season long the Celtics have played hard until the final buzzer in contests that appeared to be over. I don't have any official data to support this, but I'd be willing to bet the C's are No. 1 in the league in making opposing teams sweat out the last minute after previously holding what looked to be insurmountable late-game leads.
Every time I watched this Celtics ballclub frantically cut a deficit of 8-12 points down to three or four in the final seconds I thought "Eventually they're going to shock somebody and pull one of these out."
The hard work is finally paying off:
Three times in the past week the Celtics were down 5 points in the final minute. They won twice and tied up all three of them.— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) February 11, 2016
That's just not something you see in the NBA.
Last Friday in Cleveland, Boston trailed 101-96 with 18 seconds remaining (and even missed a three-pointer with 10 seconds to go before cutting into the lead). Final score: Celtics 104, Cavs 103.
On Tuesday in Milwaukee, the Celtics were down 109-104 with 56 seconds left (not to mention 99-81 with 8:14 to go). Kelly Olynyk's last-second free throws tied the game, but Avery Bradley's foul gave the Bucks a 112-111 victory.
And finally, before pulling out the thrilling 139-134 OT win over the Clippers at the Garden last night, the C's were behind 120-115 in the last minute of regulation.
This club never dies.
Isaiah Thomas said as much after yesterday's victory:
Isaiah Thomas: "This team's mentality is no matter what the situation is, we are not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting."— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) February 11, 2016
More Isaiah: "We're going to keep fighting until there is no time on the clock. That's what makes this team special."— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) February 11, 2016
For comparison, watch the video of the Clippers' final possession (after a timeout) once the Celtics had turned the tables in overtime. Trailing by five with 8.7 seconds on the clock, Chris Paul casually took two dribbles to his right, then passed to JJ Redick who didn't get a shot off until a full five seconds had ticked away. By that point, L.A.'s odds of winning went from minuscule to nonexistent.
Who knows what Brad Stevens and the Celtics would've done in the same situation, but I guarantee it would've allowed them a better chance to win than that.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan
Mark Van Deusen 2/11/2016 03:10:00 PM Tweet Edit