In 2014, Bill Belichick mentioned that he saw fight in his team during their 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He said they never gave up and they cared. After that, the Patriots went on a crazy win streak and eventually won Super Bowl XLIX.
After Gordon Hayward went down, the Celtics could have crumbled, and taken a big loss to the Cavaliers. But they dug in, fought, and made it a game. However, doubt crept in the next game as Giannis Antetokounmpo had a huge game as the green fell to 0-2.
Two wins over the 76ers and Knicks were promising, but nothing to really celebrate over. The big test came in Milwaukee, where the depleted Celtics (no Morris either) grinded out a big win.
After that win, we could tell this team was special. Now with an eight game win streak, they are on a roll. Brad Stevens has been working his magic and the team with only four returning starters is jelling like a bunch of veterans.
Jayson Tatum is not playing like he is 19, and Jaylen Brown is playing like a veteran right now. The big thing with both of these guys, they are becoming so well-rounded. Brown’s offensive game has really picked up and the sky is the limit for this kid. He is shooting 46.7% from the field, including 42.6% from beyond the arc. His average will keep going up, and an All-Star appearance could be in sight for this guy.
Tatum came into the league offensively polished, and does not seem to be phased by the NBA game. He is efficient scoring 13.6 ppg on 49.4% shooting, including 51.7% from beyond the arc. Also, he really uses his length well on defense, disrupting shots and rebounding. With all of the different lineups that Brad Stevens uses, Tatum is getting a lot of experience guarding multiple positions. He is averaging 4.7 defensive rebounds per game. Getting thrown into the fire has not phased this guy at all. Rookie of the Year 2018.
— NBA (@NBA) October 29, 2017
Kyrie Irving wanted his own team, and he got it. But not the way he wanted. Hayward was more than happy to let Irving take the lead, if it meant for more wins. Irving has taken the offensive load, even with low three-point shooting percentages. He has stepped up at the end of games, especially in OKC last weekend. Even with the tough shooting, he is averaging over 21 ppg right now.
The other half of the 1-2 punch with Kyrie, Al Horford is playing lights out basketball right now. He was unbelievably clutch with Irving in OKC. He does not miss open threes, AT ALL. Al started shooting from deep at the end of his Hawks career, and now he is CASH. Horford is shooting 55% from the field and an astounding 51.5% from three. He is really stepping up as a veteran leader on this team on and off the court.
It does not matter who is on the Celtics, since the Red Auerbach days, defense has led to success for the Green. With the loss of Avery Bradley, there were certainly questions.
"Celtics defense gona struggle cuz they lost Avery & Crowder" pic.twitter.com/dFal7lyaxJ
— Thomas Tsegaye (@_ThomasT) October 27, 2017
The Green are certainly digging in and they are doing it as a team. Marcus Smart improves defensively every year. He better be 1st team all-NBA defense this year. Terry Rozier is tough on the ball. Aron Baynes never lets up an easy basket, as he is tough in the paint. The big defensive star has been 2nd round pick Semi Ojeleye, who is like a mini Jae Crowder. This guy is tough, athletic, and can defend multiple positions. The Celtics have allowed 100 or more points only twice this year, in their two losses. This is how their defense stacks up with the rest of the league:
Celtics Defensive Ranks:
- Points Allowed (93.2) – 1st
- FG Allowed (33.5) – 3rd
- Opp. FG Pct. (42.4%) – 3rd
- Opp. 3PM (7.8) – 1st
- Opp. 3 point % ( 30.8%) – 1st
During this win streak, the Celtics have played some tough opponents (MIL, OKC on the road) and the Spurs. They have taken care of business and look to continue it tonight in Atlanta. Even without Hayward, this team has found their identity and still has a lot of potential. Projected at 55 wins with Hayward, the Celtics could reach that total without him. I am loving this team more and more by the game, and the fact that the Cavaliers are 4-6 makes this so much sweeter.
Cant wait for the big November 16th test at home vs. Golden State!