The Boston Celtics (11-3) have the best record in the NBA after winning seven games in a row. At the beginning of the season, expecting a drop-off would’ve been understandable after the Celtics controversially suspended coach Ime Udoka for the season after he violated team rules.
However, the promotion of Joe Mazzulla has helped Boston become an offensive juggernaut with the top-rated (118.8) offense in the League. The only question to solve is how to get Boston to regain their defensive dominance; as of Wednesday, the Celtics hold a 112.5 defensive rating, good for 19th.
After Marcus Smart (22 points, five rebounds, eight assists on 8-12 shooting) helped lead Boston to a gritty, come-from-behind, seventh-straight win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s clear that the vibes are immaculate in Beantown. During his postgame interview, Smart said, “last year around this time, we would have lost this game.”
We never stopped believing and pulled off a big comeback against OKC for our seventh straight win pic.twitter.com/p2byTNFvzw— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 15, 2022
But that was last year, this season, Boston has shown maturity and veteran polish after their run to the Finals. Although the Celtics were outplayed for the first 36 minutes of the game, Smart refed to let Boston’s win streak end. Smart dropped 10 points and four assists and hit the lead-clinching three-pointer after he checked in with 8:03 left in the game.
“It feels amazing,” Smart said, per NBC Sports. “We had a lot of stuff going on early in the season with us. A lot of controversy, a lot of expectations for us, a lot of obstacles to overcome. And we just continue to keep fighting, trusting one another, and keep going.”
Because of Smart, timely contributions from Peyton Pritchard and Derrick White, and the team-high 27 points, five rebounds, and eight assists effort from MVP candidate superstar Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics stole a feel-good win heading into a three-game road trip.
“Everybody contributed,” Tatum said. “D-White and Payton off the bench giving that spark at the end of the third, beginning of fourth, that really willed us to that comeback. So I was extremely proud of the way that we responded, the way that we competed, and figured it out.
“It wasn’t pretty. Obviously, some things we wish we could have done better, but that’s a talented team, and that’s a good win.”
Boston begins their road trip against Atlanta (9-5).