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The Boston Celtics Are Currently Kicking The Shit Out Of The NBA At A Historic Level And It Is Beyond Glorious

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

I'm just going to let it be known right now, this is not a sober blog. Not in the sense that I'm on some sort of narcotic or substance, but in the sense that I have consumed so much Celtics Kool Aid over the 12 or so hours that my BKC (Blook Kool Aid Concentration) is easily a 0.18 (18th banner, get it?….I'm sorry). I mean what else do you expect after what we've been watching these last 10 games? 

I'm going to say something that some may find controversial, but it's the truth. We just witnessed the greatest 10 game winning streak in Celtics franchise history. Pick a year, it doesn't matter. 

Hold on, I need a refill

OK, let's proceed. That tweet alone would be enough to give me a raging Porzingis in my pants, but while basking in the glory of yet another win, this time blowing out Luka and Kyrie, I stumbled upon something that sent chills down my spine. It may mean nothing, it may mean everything, I'll allow you to form your own conclusion. All I'm about to do is just present you with the facts.

In "modern" Celtics history, or basically in my lifetime, there are two teams that I think most would agree are some of the best if not the best Celts teams in franchise history. The 1986 Celts and the 2008 Celts. True Gods. They say history tends to repeat itself and well, after 59 games…

1986 Celts: 48-11

2008 Celts: 47-12

2024 Celts: 47-12

OK, pretty interesting right? But it goes deeper. Not only are all three of these records essentially the same, I would like you to look at what was happening for each team once they hit this mark on their schedule

1986:

2008:

2024:

All 3 teams have had massive winning streaks at the same part of their schedule when they hit the 59 game mark. Coincidence? Maybe. A sign of what's to come? I fucking hope so. At the very least, it is kinda spooky. The record part is one thing, but the winning streak at the exact same time? And I'm not talking about a little 4 game streak either. These are all at least 8 games, with the last two both being at least 10 games. 

Again, if you want to be rational and continue to say this is all just a coincidence, be my guest. You also came to the wrong place because I am absolutely not going to be rational about this and you can't make me. Not with the amount of Celts Kool Aid running through my veins, and just for good measure we also have this to consider as well

hold on, I need another refill

1972 Lakers? Won the title

1971 Bucks? Won the title

1996 Bulls? Won the title

2017 Warriors? Won the title

1972 Bucks? Didn't win the title

1997 Bulls? Won the title

2016 Warriors? Didn't win the title

Considering the Celts are essentially one more blowout from passing the 2016 Warriors here, they would enter a grouping where 5 of the 6 teams ended up winning the NBA title. There's a real chance we see this Celts team's point differential cross over into +11 which has only happened 5 TIMES in the history of the NBA (4 won the title). 

You know how I always say perspective is important? The perspective here is we are currently watching one of the most dominant teams in NBA history. I'm not sure how else to really say it. You can't win a title in March, all you can do is evaluate things based on where they stand now, and I'm pretty sure everyone can see the facts above. 

Yes, the 2023-24 Celts have to finish the job and avoid being the 1972 Bucks or the 2016 Warriors. To ignore that possibility would be foolish as there are no guarantees in life, and lord knows we as Celts fans have experienced a level of pain few fanbases will ever live through. 

But at the same time, this has to be it. It just has to be. 

Now, let's move onto the latest ass kicking

The Good

- Just like the first meeting (where the Celts also won and Tatum outplayed Luka), anyone who suggests there wasn't extra juice last night given the MVP race/narrative is fooling themselves. Add in the Kyrie element and the fact that the Mavs had been playing good basketball as of late, this was another measuring stick opportunity not just for the team, but for Jayson Tatum.

He responded like he so often does. With two way dominance.

32/8/3 on 10-19 (5-9) and a +17 in his 37 minutes, what we saw from Tatum in this game is why he's such an impactful player. When we talk about MVP, everyone like to talk about impact. Well, last time I checked this means both ends of the floor. In all of Tatum's matchups last night, he allowed 8 total points. 

Luka? He allowed 30 points on 11-15 (73.3%) shooting. Jaylen/Jrue did most of the work, combining for 18 points on 7-9 shooting.

As much as Mavs fans want to try and deny it, defense matters. Why? Because it impacts winning, and winning is supposed to be the most important thing. Gaudy triple doubles are fun, but what good is scoring 30 on one end if you are immediately giving up 30 on the other and your team loses by 28? 

Oh right, there's also this to consider as well

Luka is without a doubt a generational player. Suggesting otherwise is stupid. But there are levels to this when you want to talk about making a winning impact. Triggered Mavs fans simply suggest that Tatum is only good because he has a superteam, but that's just their way to cope. Tatum is good because he is elite on BOTH ends of the floor. The Celts can survive when he has a down quarter because in those same minutes, he's also playing impactful defense. The same cannot be said for Luka. The Mavs struggle when he struggles because he's an easy 2 points whenever someone goes at him. That stuff should matter.

Then, just like we saw in the second half, once Tatum catches his rhythm, it's a wrap for you. The Mavs are simply the latest team we've seen be in a whole lot of trouble because they do not have the size or the length on the perimeter to handle the Jays. As we've seen in pretty much every game during this 10 game winning streak, if your roster is not built in a way that slows down the Jays, you're cooked.

I thought Tatum's approach was the perfect balance, with 9 of his 19 FGA being 3PA while also getting to the line 7 times (7-7). He attacked when needed, he made his open looks, and when it came time for the knockout side step 3, he delivered. You can always tell when Tatum is in one of his zones when that side step 3 drops. That's his heat check shot and when it's falling I'm not exactly sure what a defender is supposed to do. He becomes unguardable.

- Like I said, if you are a team playing the Celtics and you do not have the perimeter wing defense to keep the Jays in front of you, they are going to blow you out. You just saw what that looked like for Tatum, here's what it looked like for Jaylen

You want to talk about a player who is locked in since the ASB, Jaylen Brown might be the most locked in player on the planet

26.8/6.5/3.5 on 60/42% with only 1.5 TOs and 2.3 3PM in his last 4 games for Jaylen since we started things back up again. NOw admittedly it hasn't really been a murderer's row of opponents (CHI/NYK/PHI/DAL) but I don't give a shit. The way he is playing is exactly how I envision Jaylen at his best. 

Aggressive, in control, good defense both on and off ball, finishing in transition, keeping his eyes up and finding teammates, as long as we can get that FT% up a little bit (70%) I have zero complaints about the type of basketball we're currently watching Jaylen play.

Just like we saw against the Sixers, all Jaylen had to do in this game was use his size and bully the shit out of whatever defender tried to stay in his way. As you can imagine, no Mav had success in that department. I also love that once Jaylen got into the restricted area, he went up strong. There were no soft layups there or a player who was maybe shying away form contact. Those were powerful finishes. Two handed dunks with an explosion of force, to the point where it felt like a Varsity player was playing the JV team. Too big, too strong, too quick. 

- One of the things most fans would agree on is for the Celtics to win the title, they need to be able to win through a variety of ways. To win 4 rounds in the playoffs, you need to be able to morph into different playstyles at any moment, and you have to be flawless at them all. The idea is to be as scheme-proof as you possibly can. Take away the three? OK, no problem, the team can adapt to elite post play or elite P&R. Go zone? OK, everyone on the floor is a 40% or damn close to it 3pt shooter, and nobody in the league takes more. Need a huge bucket late in games? Have more than one way to get it. 

What stands out about the 2023-24 version of Mazzulla Ball is that is exactly what they've become. How successful has it been? Oh I don't know, some would suggest that the best in the history of the NBA is pretty could, but you tell me

The second the Celts get you in rotation, it's over. With every player on the floor being able to score from all three levels, there's always a player with an advantage at any given moment. If things get tight on the perimeter, they just lob it down to KP which is an automatic 2 points. If they give up the paint, the Jays are going to get there with ease, because as we saw above, teams like the Mavs didn't have the ability to stop it. I haven't even mentioned Derrick's floater or Jrue's ability to get into the paint yet either.

While all of this is happening, if you don't guard the Celt from 35ft, every player on the floor can make a 3. But if you come too far out, they drive past you. It's a lose/lose.

So as you can see, this is about as scheme-proof as the Celtics HAVE EVER been. That is why their offense is historic, that is why their production is historic, and that's why they have the opportunity to do something truly special. To make that leap and become one of the great teams in league history, you have to become scheme-proof. That's the final step.

- Case in point? Kristaps Porzingis

Why are the Celts so scheme-proof? This guy. We've seen prior versions of this team be dominant playing the way Joe wants, but they weren't scheme-proof. They had a fatal flaw offensively and didn't have a counter for certain defenses which became a problem at the worst possible time.

Porzingis has ended all of that. So, you're getting improved Mazzulla Ball on the perimeter from everyone, and then you also get to add the KP element to an offense that you already knew worked. You just needed that final solve, which is exactly what KP is.

On the defensive end, he's giving the Celts the same type of rim protection they had with Rob, only he's also a billion times better at defending the P&R, which was another playoff area of weakness. When things slow down in the playoffs, teams usually spam the shit out of sets that they know you can't stop. There's way less fucking around from possession to possession, so adding an elite counter to limit the opponent's P&R production is going to matter in the playoffs just as much as anything we see offensively with KP. 

- I don't even know what to say anymore when it comes to Jrue Holiday's corner shooting. It's beyond absurd. Holiday is now shooting 65% from the left corner, 66% from the right corner, which is good for 66.2% on the season. Those numbers aren't real, yet are very real. We've never seen anything like it, and even though I know this is going to come back down to earth, what if it doesn't?

The guard production as a whole was more than good enough last night, which is partly what makes this roster so tough. While you're busy dealing with the Jays and KP, here come Jrue/Derrick with an efficient 24/15 on 9-16 (6-9) shooting. It's overwhelming. With Jrue, his corner shot is his touch meter. With Derrick it's his floater. Once we saw both drop early, you knew it was going to be an efficient night for both. 

Getting elite playmaking from both (had 15 of the 33 AST) all with mostly good ball security (Holiday didn't turn it over) combined with All NBA caliber defense, I thought they more than held their own against Luka/Kyrie. 

- Al Horford with 2 days rest morphs into a 25 year old. Prove me wrong.

- Once the Mavs cut the lead to 81-79, this game could have gone one of two ways. A disgusting collapse at home in a game the Celts had no business losing, or a championship level response to throw a knockout punch and restore order.

From that 81-79 score, the next thing you knew it was 119-99. There was no collapse. There was no choking in the moment. There was yet another display of resiliency. The Celts didn't just push back, they ended the game. So often we ask ourselves if this group is different, well, maybe this was out answer.

- 13-13 from the FT line, 138 points in regulation on 55/48% splits with 21 3PM and only 9 TOs. Offensive Celtics porn.

- This was the first time we saw actual Xavier Tillman minutes and I gotta say, Brad cooked. I know I'm not the only one who was watching his minutes and had no idea if it was Tillman or Al Horford. Tell me I'm wrong

That's Al.

The Bad

- I'm not sure what the deal is, but I would like Joe Mazzulla to carve out some time in practice to work on entry passes. Mostly, stop being so goddamn lazy with them. Two examples of this come to mind via two players who I trust wholeheartedly with the basketball, which is what makes it so annoying. The first was from Derrick

the other from Tatum

Can't have that shit. I've noticed this is a bit of a thing with Derrick lately, and I don't see the harm in carving out some time at practice to work this kink out. Throwing entry passes without turning the ball over is going to be VERY important in 2 months. Whether that's to Tatum in the post or KP. Teams are going to play up on them, just like DAL did in those clips, especially if you are throwing lazy lobs. Those are just asking for trouble.

- I am begging this team to figure out how to not give up so many offensive rebounds and 2nd chance points. Another game of double digit OREB to go with 15 point 2nd chance points, this is probably the biggest concern I have with the team defensively right now. You have got to figure out a way to have clean defensive possessions. Giving teams 2 and 3 tries a possession is not going to work out for you against the better teams in the league when the stakes are at their highest. 

The Celts are a team that leads the NBA in defensive rebounding. This is true. They are also 25th in the NBA in opponent OREB. This tells you that the Celts defense is really good and forces a shit ton of misses, which is a good thing. The bad part is that all those misses sometimes lead to double digit opponent OREB if you aren't careful and suddenly become allergic to boxing out.

- Maybe it's just me, but I'm over the Kyrie stuff. I haven't thought about that dude in years. If people want to boo, go nuts. I'm mostly apathetic towards it all at this point. Caring about the Kyrie drama feels more like a 2019-20 era problem to me, and I'd rather put my energy toward this current era. It'll always be fucked how he tanked the 2019 playoffs, we all know that. I just don't really give a shit about it anymore.

Sure I enjoy the fact that since stomping on Lucky he's basically lost every game against BOS, but honestly who cares at this point. Boo all you want, don't be a dick about it and take things too far, and then we can all go back to our daily lives.

- I honestly can't remember the last time I liked an end of quarter Celtics possession. It hasn't mattered who was initiating the offense whether it was Jaylen, Derrick, or Tatum. They've all been bad. Sometimes it's taking a shot too early and still giving up points, sometimes it's a brutal turnover that ends up in points, sometimes it's dogshit clogged offense where you get a low-quality look. 

Finishing quarters strong is what I would consider an important part of ensuring you take care of your shit in a playoff series. Just look at the games against NYK/PHI/DAL since the break and how you felt going into halftime. A lack of execution suddenly made a game that shouldn't be close a whole lot closer. Those are the types of lapses that can burn you, and at the very least when the Celts are holding for the last shot I'd like them to actually be the ones to take the last shot.

The Ugly

- Nope. Not after 10 in a row. Learn the rules.

Now, as good as we all feel, we know what comes next. The boogeyman. Steph Curry. You want to show us things are different? Well here's your chance. The Warriors are on a roll, Steph is still Steph, and there are demons there for sure. We didn't see KP in this matchup the last time (which the Celts lost), so let's see how that impacts things. If the Celts play like they have been, they should have no problems. But as we know, beating Steph Curry is much easier in theory than in reality.