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Celtics Coming Into Form After Defeating League’s Last Unbeaten

After stumbling to a 2-2 start, the Boston Celtics are on a four-game win streak after a nail-biting win over the previously undefeated Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 1.

Boston netted a franchise record 24 three-pointers and came up just one short of the NBA record. They led for a vast majority of the game, with the Bucks biggest lead being just four points. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Celtics had a 15 point lead. But a furious 12-0 Bucks run in the first 2:30 of the final quarter, cut the lead to three. Following that, the Celtics built their lead back up once again to 10 points with under 4:30 remaining in the game. A Khris Middleton-led effort helped to dwindle that margin to just one in the final minute before the Celtics were able to close the book at the line.

”We got a lot of open looks. We were taking what they were giving us,” said Gordon Hayward. ”Those are big shots for us. We have to be able to hit those.”

In front of a sold-out TD Garden, Boston put together what was likely their most balanced offensive output of the season. They had five players in double figures, with Irving leading the way. The All-Star point guard had 28 points on 10-20 shooting, including six three-pointers. Both Gordon Hayward and Al Horford tallied 18 points to go along with Marcus Morris’ five three-pointers off the bench. While Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart struggled to score off the bench, the cumulative effort of the Celtic’s six other primary options proved to be enough to get past the league-leading Bucks. What this shows is that they can have key players struggle to find their rhythm in games and still find success because of their immense depth and balance that they have shown in the early season.

The Celtics have continued right where they left off last season on the defensive end. They are leading the league in points allowed per game and three-point percentage and are second in overall opponent field goal percentage.

While the Celtics rank 27th offensively in terms of scoring, they are a team that prefers to play a half-court game and have high possession rates. With so many offensive weapons, they are still in the process of meshing offensively. But when needed, they should not have too great of a difficulty to score and their immense depth assures for consistent offensive outputs game in and game out.

Defensively, the Celtics are clearly the best in the league. But offensive performances like they had on Thursday show the potential they have to really make a push at an NBA title this season. With more fine-tuning and consistent play from Irving and Hayward, the Celtics will be poised for another stellar regular season and deep playoff run come spring.

 

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