The win streak continues! Analyzing the Celtics' next ten games
Last night's victory over the Dallas Mavericks gave the Boston Celtics their sixteenth straight win. Like many of the sixteen Ws that the Celtics have accumulated over the last month or so, this one wasn't pretty. It was another come-from-behind victory, as this team continues to show off their clutch-gene late in games.
The Celtics have now won 5 straight games in which they've trailed by 13 or more points. @CelticsLife
This is a monumental streak for the legendary franchise. The 16th win makes it the fourth longest winning streak ever in Celtics' history. Of over 72 years of playing basketball in Boston, this pattern of wins is one to be reckoned with. Not to mention, it's also the NBA's longest streak since the Golden State Warriors went on their 24 game run in 2015-2016. We're coming for that ass GS!
There are a few worrisome matches coming up, but I mean, we beat the Warriors. We should be able to come out victorious against every team in the league. With that being said, I'm looking forward to a few matches that should prove to be challenging games.
First up is the game versus the Orlando Magic. They've now lost five straight, but those games were against good teams, and they competed in most of the matchups. They lost to the Indiana Pacers 105-97, then the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94, and before that, it was the Warriors 110-100. The Cs whooped the Magic last time they played, and I'm hoping that we'll see a repeat victory, but their big-bodied bruisers scare me. Nikola Vucevic is a consistently productive versatile big, and Aaron Gordon continues to impress as he makes his case for Most Improved Player, by averaging 17.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assist per game. This has become a nightly occurrence:
The next night the Cs will take on the Indiana Pacers for a back-to-back matchup. I hate the fact that this is a back-to-back. Right after the Orlando tilt, the team will have to take the late-night flight to Indiana, which doesn't give the players much time to recover from the previous night's game. To add to the weariness, the Pacers have surprised just about everyone in the league this season. Nobody expected them to compete after trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo, in what was considered to be one of the most lop-sided trades in recent memory, but Oladipo is forcing paper bags over all of the haters' heads. He's leading the 10-8 Pacers with 23 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.7 steal per game. Those are some serious numbers! Heck, those are All-Star numbers! When he faced his old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, he dropped 35 on their noggins! Hopefully Brad Stevens can work his magic, and somehow keep the Cs energized. Oladipo will certainly have his work cut out for him with our multiple guards who can defend the perimeter. Something else to note: the Pacers are on a little streak of their own, as they've won their last four.
Then it's the return of Avery Bradley! Get your handkerchiefs ready, because the pre-game tribute to Avery will surely draw a few tears. How I miss that man! The Detroit Pistons had a stellar beginning to their season, and can currently be found sitting comfortably at third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 11-6. Both the Celtics and the Pistons will most likely make the playoffs, so this could be a June preview. Detroit has lost three of their last four contests (Bucks, Pacers, Cavaliers), but will certainly cause some problems for the Celtics. For one, Avery Bradley will be covering Kyrie Irving. We've seen this epic rivalry in the past, and it's been a toss-up between the two each time. The difference is that this time, Kyrie has a team to play with. He won't need his bag of tricks, because this time, he can simply kick the ball to a teammate if he's ever pressured. It wouldn't surprise me if Kyrie finished with double-digit assist in this game. We need to avoid Avery at all costs! Don't let him kill us with his defense. Move the ball to someone who is very far away from him, and we should be successful. Either way, it'll be some good spectating, seeing one of the best offensive guards and one of the best defensive guards duel. Hopefully we'll see more of this:
And less of this:
I even think that the Philly game will be a toughie because of their young, power-duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons can completely take-over a game, and he has. The other night when he played against some of the best guards in the league on the Golden State Warriors, he put up 23 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds. I know that here in Boston we're all drooling over Jayson Tatum and think that he should be rookie of the year, but Simmons truly deserves the honor. He's basically the only addition to the Sixers' lineup from last season (lol Markelle Fultz), and he's made all the difference. The Sixers sucked last year. They were one of the worst teams in the league. Now, they're 9-7, and if the playoffs began right now, they'd be a seven seed. As for a stat-line, Simmons is on his way to averaging a triple-double, with 18.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 2 steals per game. And Embiid: he's putting up 22 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2 blocks per contest. Just outrageous numbers from two players who are under 24 years old. It looks like the process may have actually worked.
Later, we'll play the Milwaukee Bucks for what will be the third game of a best-of-three series between them and the Cs. The last time we faced them, we won by seven points, and the time before that, we lost by eight. Can you all even remember that loss? It was so long ago, and as a matter of fact, it was last time that we've seen the Celtics lose this season. I think we all know what the key to this game will be: cover potential MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is currently averaging 30 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Bring out Semi Ojeleye!
Then at the end of the week, it'll be a clash of genius head coaches. The Cs will travel to San Antonio to visit Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Late in October the Cs faced the Spurs and made them the fifth notch on their winning-streak belts, prevailing with a score of 108-94. Kyrie and Jaylen Brown combined for 42 points, which is something that we've been getting used to. Any game against the Spurs will be interesting, especially with the way that LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing recently. In the past week he's put up 22/11, 26/9, and 15/10. And obviously, if Kawhi Leonardreturns from his quad injury, then the Cs will be faced with the additional, difficult task of preparing for him.
And that's that for the next ten games. A few first-time matchups, but mostly familiar faces that we've already seen this season. Been there done that. People are looking at this schedule and thinking that the Cs will have an easy time keeping their streak intact, but I'd beg to differ. It's easy to overlook some of these teams, as they were bad last season or were ranked poorly during the preseason, but some of them have even surprised NBA experts.
The Cs will take on the Miami Heat tomorrow. Hey Cs: let's keep winning.