In a blink of an eye, we've reached the 41 game mark of the Celts season. Time sure does fly when you're having fun amirite?
The 2022-23 season has pretty much been an extension of the final 4-5 months of the 2021-22 season when it comes to the Boston Celtics. Over their final 41 games of the regular season last year, they went 31-10. Over the first 41 games of this year, the Celts are 29-12. Pretty good! Only the Suns were better last year (33-9), and not a single team has been better to start this season. Given the pressure and all the uncertainty the Celts entered this season with, what we've seen on the floor through 41 games is pretty ridiculous. In essence, they've responded exactly how we hoped they would way back in October.
That's why I am very excited for one of my favorite blogs of the year. What you're about to read are 41 stone cold facts that help tell the story of the Celts' first half. You can think I'm a biased homer, I can think you're a biased doomer, but there is no debating what you're about to read. That's the beauty of facts. Some are great, some are terrible, but they are not subjective.
We have a lot to get to, so let's dive right in
1. At 29-12, the Celtics own the best record in the NBA
2. Their 14.4 3PM a game is good for 3rd in the NBA
3. To I'm sure your surprise, the Celts are actually 6th in 3PA a game at 38.1
4. The Celtics lead the NBA in wins vs teams .500 or better with 13. No other team has more than 10
5. Conversely, they are 16-5 against teams under .500, and those 5 losses are the 2nd fewest in the NBA
6. Boston is just 1 of 3 teams that are over .500 on the road (13-7). Only the Nets are that many games over .500 (14-8)
7. The Celtics have 5 players who are averaging over 3.0 AST
8. Jayson Tatum (33.5%) and Jaylen Brown (30.9%) combine for 64.4% of the Celtics points
9. In the month of December, the Celtics had the 24th ranked offense and the 3rd ranked defense. They went 11-8.
10. The Celtics have been essentially the same in B2Bs (8-7) as opposed to getting 2 days rest (8-5)
11. Marcus Smart has an AST% of 38.1% with only a 16.5% usage rate. In comparison, Dame has a 31.8% AST% with a 31.0% usage rate. Of players with that low a usage, only Mike Conley has a higher AST%
12. Jaylen Brown is shooting a career best 79% from the FT line on a career best 5.4 FTA
13. The current starting five had played 277 minutes together and has a 119.8 Ortg / 107.0 Drtg / +12.8 net rating
14. Just 31.7% of Tatum's 3PM are unassisted. This number is down from 43.5% last season
15. The Celtics have held a team to under 100 points just 5 times in 41 games. They are 4-1.
16. Jayson Tatum currently has his highest FTA rate of his career at 40%. This is up from last year's 30% (was a career high).
17. Al Horford has taken 232 FGA this season. Of that number, 148 are 3PA (42.6% 3P). He's taken just 10 FTA in 32 games played.
18. Through 41 games the Celtics own the 7th best defense in basketball. Opponents shoot 46.9% from the floor, which is 13th.
19. At 13.6 TOs a game, the Celts rank 6th in ball security. In their wins they average 12.2 and in the losses it's 14.9
20. Derrick White leads the Celtics in blocks, with 39. This leads the NBA in terms of all guards. The next closest on Boston is Tatum with 32.
21. Jaylen Brown leads the team in TOs at 120. The next closest is Tatum at 104. Both have played 39 games.
22. The Celtics are 14-5 on the year when Grant Williams has at least 10 points
23. Malcolm Brogdon is shooting 44% from three on 4.0 3PA a night. Of players that take at least that many 3PA, only KCP and Alec Burks have a better percentage in the entire NBA.
24. The Celtics are 20-9 when they finish with at least 25 assists in a game
25. Jaylen Brown leads the team in 4th quarter points at 257. He leads the team with 188 FGA. Tatum is at 250 on 170 FGA. Marcus Smart is 7th in 4th quarter FGA (54), trailing Payton Pritchard (57)
26. In clutch time games this season, the Celts own a 12-5 record. Their 70.6% win percentage is the 2nd highest in the NBA
27. When Rob is on the court, the Celts defense has a 107.2 rating. When he's off, it balloons to 110.8
28. Offensively, when Jayson Tatum is on the court the Celts have a 119.1 rating. When he's off, it craters to 108.2
29. As a team, the Celtics still own the best offense in basketball at a rating of 117.1
30. Their collective AST% of 63.5 is 4th in the league
31. Tatum and Brown own the most games with 30 points a piece in the NBA
32. Joe Mazzulla has started his coaching career with .700 basketball and the best record in the NBA
33. Jaylen Brown has 57 live ball TOs through 39 games played. Tatum has 54 in 39 games. Malcolm Brogdon has 38 in 35 games played. Smart has 40 in 36 games.
34. The Celts are 1-2 in games decided by 3 points or less and are 1-3 in OT
35. Through 41 games, the Celtics only have 6 losses by 10 or more points. That is the 2nd fewest total of any top 7 seed. Their 15 wins by 10+ are the 3rd most in the NBA
36. Marcus Smart is taking just 9.4 FGA a game which is his lowest since 2018-19. His 42.4% from the floor is a career high and his 33.9% from three is the 3rd highest of his career. His 7.2 assists are a career high.
37. Last year's starting 5 has played 13 minutes together and have a 102.9 Ortg / 89.2 Dtrg / +13.7 net rating
38. As a team, the Celts only run isolation on 7.2% of their possessions. This is down slightly from 8.5% last year
39. On average, the Celtics have 404.2 touches a game. Of that number, just 21.6 are paint touches. That's 19th in the league. Their 69% shooting on paint touches is 3rd in the NBA. They also own the 4th fewest TOs when it comes to paint touches.
40. At 82.6% as a team, the Boston Celtics are the best FT shooting team in the league. They rank 22nd in FTA
41. When it comes to contesting shots, the Celts average 56.6 contests per game which is 2nd in the NBA
Add all that shit up and you get a 29-12 record and one of if not the best teams in the entire league. You can get upset about it if you want, but I'm going to have to ask you to argue with a wall. The proof is in the pudding, and as you can see no matter how you slice it the Celts have been pretty damn good.
A long way to go and truly none of this matters if they don't win the NBA title, but by my calculations, things are off to an ideal start.