The Boston Celtics won their sixth straight game Monday night at the Garden against the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 100-89. This notched the Celtics’ sixth straight win and brought them to a 20-17 overall record.
If you think they have played easy teams during their win streak like the Bobcats who just came off an 18 game losing streak and a struggling Suns team that has a record of 12-25 well guess again. To start this streak they topped the Central Division leading Pacers, a solid Hawks team with a 21-16 record, the streaking Knicks who have been hot all season and sit atop the Atlantic Division, and the Rockets who are first in the league in scoring at 105.4 points per game and are led by one of the top scorers in James Harden.
The C’s have not looked this good all season. What has changed? Two things: defense and players stepping up and contributing.
The defense has held strong for the Celtics and it has been a big reason for their success the past six games. To start the season they gave up 100 or more points in 13 of their first 30 games including six games just in December. In the past six games they have yet to give up 100 points and have held their opponents to under 85 points on three different occasions. The saying defense wins games holds true for the Celtics. They have plenty of talent on the team to score. If they play defense and stop other teams they will win more games.
The other piece to the puzzle for the success the C’s have had lately is players stepping up on the team. When someone has an off night somebody else has stepped up and filled that void. The Celtics have a lot of talented stars on the team and any one of them can score and play at a high level. They can’t just rely on the Big Three to score a lot and carry the team every game. Players have been stepping up and contributing both on the offensive side and defensive side.
Avery Bradley has been a big asset to the defense harassing opposing guards and causing turnovers. In Monday nights game Kevin Garnett played well and had 10 rebounds, but it was an off night for him scoring wise as he only had seven points. Jason Terry did not score at all last night coming off the bench, but because other guys filled that void in scoring and the team was able to be successful. Avery Bradley had 16 points including four big threes. Rondo led the team with a triple double, Jeff Green chipped in 11 points off the bench and Jared Sullinger contributed 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Courtney Lee also scored 9 points and hit a big three in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics seal the deal.
Against the Phoenix Suns Paul Pierce only scored 7 points and Rondo had 8 points. Jared Sullinger however had a career night off the bench with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jeff Green led all Celtics in scoring with 14 off the bench and Jason Terry added 13.
This just shows that the Celtics are very versatile and if one or two players have an off game in one particular area then there are several other players that can pick up the slack, and they have successfully done that and that is a big reason why the Celtics are winning lately.