Celtics Forging New Identity as NBA's Road Warriors The old Celtics were fond of using the Boston Garden to their advantage during championship runs, throttling opponents who were wary of cracked parquet and stifling locker rooms. The new edition of the Green seems to thrive on the road.

Two seasons after the C's posted 31 road wins — the highest total in any of their 17 title seasons and the second most in franchise history — they have again set the pace away from home early in 2009-10.

Tuesday's 108-90 win at Charlotte was one of the most impressive road victories of the season for Boston, which improved to a league-best 7-1 away from home and won its fifth straight overall.

Contrast that with a 7-3 home mark that includes a trio of setbacks in front of boozed-up Friday night sellouts. As great as the vibe is on those nights at TD Garden, there's just something about the way the team comes together on the road.

"It's been good, it's been good," coach Doc Rivers said of his team's current four-game road trip. "Good team spirit. Offensively, it's extremely unselfish, almost to a point of over-passing. … I'd rather have that problem than the other way. And defensively, tonight of all nights, I thought our defense was as good as it has been all year."

Considering that Boston held eight of its first nine opponents to 90 points or less, that's saying something.

To Rivers, the key to success on the road has been getting off to good starts, something notably lacking on Causeway Street.

Against Charlotte, the Celtics used an early 12-2 run to take control and led by as many as 15 points before the first quarter came to an end. The advantage reached 20 in the second and nearly reached 30 early in the fourth.

The urge to put the Bobcats away emerged in warmups.

"[Getting a fast start] was something we talked about going on this trip and we've done it two games," Rivers said. "At home we had gotten into the habit of getting off to slow starts and then battling back and winning some of them and losing some of them.

"The last two games on the road we've gotten off to great starts, and it's just really important for our team on the road."

Interestingly enough, it was Ray Allen — who has struggled mightily on the road this season — who served as the catalyst on Tuesday. Allen, 5-of-30 from 3-point range in his previous six road games, was 5-of-6 in this one before smiling through the last eight minutes on the bench.

He said the team is able to find itself a bit more when it's away from the trappings of home.

"We are learning every day what this team is about," Allen said. "This is a different team from last year, a different team from two years ago."

Before 2008, no Celtics title team ever won more than 29 games on the road. That unit famously bonded on a preseason trip to Rome, opened 14-2 outside Boston and then finished its playoff run with wins in three of its last six road games.

Despite what Allen said, there are several similarities between that team and this one. Most notable is a love of travel.