The Celtics have strung together 10 straight wins, the third double-digit winning streak in the league this season, and they couldn’t be more oblivious to it. “To keep this all the way real and 100,” Kevin Garnett said, after they choked the Bobcats 93-62 Saturday in Charlotte, “We have no conscience of what the streak is. We talk from game to game about what we need to do to prepare for that game and that’s it. We don’t look past teams, we don’t circle teams. We’ve got one game at a time.”
Still, they’re holding teams to 86.1 points a night during the streak, outscoring them by an average of 14.6, clamping down hard on defense that they win games even when Paul Pierce is sick and struggling, the offense is ice cold, and they have no choice but to start Turkish rookie Semih Erden at center because Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal are both injured.
“It’s hard to explain it, but this team is on one accord” Pierce said. We’re feeling good right now. We feel like we can beat anybody regardless of who we put out there. We’re in a great rhythm right now as a team.”
Here’s a quick glance at all the teams that have that invincible feel right now.
10 games starting Nov. 22
Who they beat:at Atlanta, New Jersey, Toronto, at Cleveland, Portland, Chicago, at New Jersey, Denver, at Philadelphia, at Charlotte
Points forced: 100.7
Points allowed: 86.1
Double-digit winsFive (Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, New Jersey, Denver, Charlotte)
Close CallPhiladelphia, 102-101, They traded punches until the final bell, when Rajon Rondo hooked up with Kevin Garnett on an alley-oop to seal the win.
How it started: They left the Air Canada center red-faced after giving up 102 points and a losing in the final minutes. They came out the next night and took it out on Atlanta, jumping out to a 39-13 first-quarter lead, the largest lead in franchise history after one quarter. The last time a team led by 26 in the first quarter on the road was 1997 when Jordan’s Bulls jumped on the Warriors, 35-8.
Portland: They had to calm down a hot shooting Wes Matthews, but by the end of the night, Paul Pierce had taken over and Ray Allen came through with the game-clinching 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Chicago: Kevin Garnett dropped 20-points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds, then calling Joakim Noah – considered a Garnett carbon-copy in some ways – a nobody.
Charlotte: The listless Bobcats have X’s in their eyes, but the Celtics defensive effort was the big deal. The Bobcats 62 points would have been a franchise-low if it hadn’t been for the 59 the Celtics held them to last season.
Next game: Wednesday v. New York, 7 p.m.
12 games starting Nov. 20
Who they beat: at Atlanta, Detroit, at Oklahoma City, at San Antonio, Miami, Houston, Minnesota, at Utah, at Sacramento, Golden State, New Jersey, Utah
Points allowed during streak: 93.0
Double-digit wins: Four (Miami, Houston, Utah, New Jersey)
Close calls: Sacremento, 105-103, They outscored the Kings 15-4 in the final five minutes but needed a steal by JJ Barea with 11.5 seconds left to seal the deal.
How it started:
Coming off back-to-back losses, including an embarrassing effort against Chicago where they gave up 20 offensive rebounds and 25 second-chance points, the Celtics went to Atlanta, ran up two 18-point leads and punished the Hawks on the boards to start the streak on the road.
Oklahoma City: Dirk Nowitzki (34 points) outdueled Kevin Durant (32), scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to Durant’s 6. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said afterward, “They got hot. Let’s face it.”
At San Antonio: In order to keep their streak alive they had to snap the Spurs’ 12-game tear. They dealt with Manu Ginobili’s 31 points outburst, but Shawn Marion answered by scoring 11 of his 19 in the fourth quarter, getting revenge on the team that bounced them in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Miami: Six Mavericks reached double-figures, including Tyson Chandler, who put 14 points and 17 rebounds to deal the Heat their fourth loss in five games, leading to the now-infamous Miami team meeting.
Next game: Tonight vs. Milwaukee, 8:30
12 games from Nov. 1 to Nov. 24
Who they beat: at LA Clippers, at Phoenix, Houston, at Charlotte, LA Clippers, Philadelphia, at Oklahoma City, Chicago, at Utah, Cleveland, Orlando, at Minnesota
Points forced during streak: 99.9
Points allowed during streak: 90.5
Double-digit wins: Six (Phoenix, LA Clippers, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Utah, Cleveland)
Close calls: Houston in overtime (without Yao)
At Oklahoma City: Matt Bonner, a large reason why the Spurs are the best 3-point shooting team in the league, knocked down all seven of his 3-pointers and the Spurs held Kevin Durant to a season-low 23 points.
At Utah: With 19 points, Tim Duncan passed David Robinson to become the Spurs’ all-time scoring leader. He also passed Robinson for games played.
Orlando: The Magic couldn’t stop coughing the ball up (16 turnovers) and the Spurs were hot from long distance (12 3-pointers)
New York: The Knicks have won eight straight, and a bonkers Amar’e Stoudemire is making himself look like the prize of this summer’s free agency, scoring at least 30 points in each of those wins, setting a Knicks record. They beat the Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony, who reportedly wants to be a Knick this year or next, and they’ve got the Celtics and Heat coming up Wednesday and Friday.
Miami: After the Dallas loss, they broke out the flashlights and did some soul searching, resulting in their eight-game tear. All of the wins have come by double-digits. Dwayne Wade is averaging 26.6 points during the streak while LeBron James is going for 26.0.