The C's are now winners of 13 consecutive games, and they improved this week to 18-2 in the Eastern Conference and 6-1 within the Atlantic Division. They're not just beating the competition at this point — they're flat-out humiliating them.
Will it last forever? Certainly not. But it's been an amazing run while it's lasted. Here are seven thoughts on the C's and their spectacular run:
1. And then there was one. A week ago, the C's were one of four teams with eye-poppingly long winning streaks around the NBA. Tthe Knicks had won eight straight games, the Mavericks had won 12 straight and the Heat were also winners of 12 games in a row. But the C's took out the Knicks last week in head-to-head action, and the Mavs fell last Monday to the Bucks in a shocking upset. Then this week, the Heat finally fell, as Jason Terry and the Mavs ransacked them in the fourth quarter to halt their winning streak. The C's are now the last streaking team standing.
2. For a while, the C's probably had Christmas Day circled on their calendars as a potential streak-snapper. The C's first meeting with the Magic is an anticipated one, and Orlando is one of the scarier opponents on Boston's schedule. But the Magic might need a while to work out the kinks with their reloaded roster. Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson shot a combined 6-for-23 in their debut, and the Magic lost by double digits to the Hawks. The C's might be getting their marquee matchup at just the right time. This Orlando squad is vulnerable.
3. Paul Pierce's triple-double against the Pacers on Sunday — 18 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — was his first in nearly a half-decade. His last trip-dub came on March 8, 2006, in a home win over the Sixers. In the five seasons since, only two Celtics have recorded triple-doubles — Rajon Rondo is obviously one, and the other might surprise you. It's Ryan Gomes, who put up 10 points, 12 boards and 10 dimes in a win over the Bobcats on Nov. 8, 2006. Interestingly, neither Kevin Garnett nor Ray Allen has ever notched a triple-double in Celtic green.
4. Rondo is still missing in action with an ankle injury, and he probably won't be back until some time around New Year's. Unfortunately, we can all probably guess what that means — Rondo won't be making a run at John Stockton's single-season assist record anytime soon. Rondo has 275 assists so far this season, and he still needs 889 more to catch Stockton's record set back in 1991. If he misses the Celtics' next five games, he'd have to average 17.4 dimes per game over the Celtics' last 51. Even for a player of Rondo's caliber, that's pretty much impossible.
5. Nate Robinson had another huge game for the Celtics in Rondo's absence Sunday, dropping 18 points on the Pacers on 7-of-15 shooting, including a pair of 3's. These are Robinson's point totals in the six games he's started this season: 22, 16, 7, 21, 14, 18. He's averaging 16.3 points per game when he plays with the starting five. In other words, he's the team's second-leading scorer after Paul Pierce. Robinson doesn't have the defensive chops that Rondo does, and he can't run the break, but he adds a new dimension to the Celtics' offense with his scoring ability. We've never seen an explosive Celtics offense quite like this one.
6. It was the best of weeks for Robinson, but it was also the worst of weeks. The C's guard put up big numbers against the Knicks, Hawks and Pacers, making a name for himself in the starting five … but he also became a national laughingstock when he fell flat on his face attempting to celebrating a game-winning shot by Pierce. If you haven't seen it already, be sure to check out these hilarious videos of Robinson's faceplant at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Robinson's known that MSG floor for a long time, but last week he saw it up close and personal.
7. Shaquille O'Neal was asked on Sunday to give his impressions of Pacers center Roy Hibbert, and he wasn't exactly accommodating. Instead, he only wanted to talk about another up-and-coming young big man. "I don’t have any impression," Shaq said. "The only impression I have of anyone is of Blake Griffin. Other than that, I don’t have anything to say about anybody. Blake Griffin is the truth. All these other guys, I’m not impressed."
A decade ago, Shaq was crowning Paul Pierce as "The Truth," and the nickname stuck. Now, the torch has been passed.
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