The Boston Celtics are starting to look like the team that was expected this season.
Boston enters Friday night’s showdown against the Detroit Pistons winners of seven of its last 10 games, including each of its last three games. The Celtics are 12-6 since Dec. 31 and over that span they’ve seen their stock rise in the Eastern Conference — although they currently sit in ninth place — and are just five games back of the top-seeded Chicago Bulls. In comparison, the Western Conference No. 9-seeded Los Angeles Lakers are 17 games back from the top spot.
The Celtics haven’t really made any impactful moves or brought anyone into the rotation, but the biggest difference since the calendar turned over to 2022 is the fact that the team now is fully healthy. Boston has been ravaged by injuries and COVID-19 in the first half of the season, but things are starting to turn its way and its showing up on the scoreboard.
Since Dec. 31 the Celtics sit atop, or very near the top of the league in a wide range of statistics and you can see them below, courtesy of Celtics play-by-play guy Sean Grande.
The Celtics still have plenty of work to do if they want to move up the standings. But they’ve started to show life and with the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline right around the corner, there even could be reinforcements on way very soon.
In recent weeks the Eastern Conference has shown how vulnerable it is this season — especially with the Brooklyn Nets somehow losing six straight games — and so if Boston is able to keep up this hot streak when the regular season comes to a close, it could have a real shot if it stays healthy.