C's improving defense may just be a mirage

Locking down Philly isn't exactly "impressive."
There's been a lot of talk the past few days about the Celtics recent improvements on the defensive end.  After giving up 100 points or more in 7 of their first 14 games, Boston has now held their last 6 opponents under the century mark.  However, there is a distinct possibility that this has very little to do with how the Celts are playing, and everything to do with who they've been playing.

During the sub-100 streak Boston has squared off against Brooklyn, Portland, Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Philly twice.  None of those teams average 100 points per game, and only one of them even ranks in the top 50% of the league in PPG.  The Blazers 97.1 PPG just barely cracks the top half of the NBA, at 15th overall.  The Bucks are 17th (96.8), Nets 19th (96.2), Timberwolves 25th (93.2), and Sixers 26th (92.8).  Holding Philadelphia under 100 points in back to back games can hardly be considered much of a feat; remember last spring's stuck-in-the-mud second round playoff matchup?  The 76ers never scored more than 92 in any of the 7 games, and only averaged 85.4 for the series.

Tonight the Celtics host Dallas, 10th in the league at 100.1 PPG.  If Boston keeps the streak going against the Mavericks, maybe then we can start talking about improved defense.

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