The Boston Celtics and their plug-and-play lineups have played their way into having the fifth-best record in the NBA.
Several factors have contributed to the Green Team’s success, but few stand out like their success on the road which is a trend they hope to continue tonight at Dallas.
Boston comes into tonight’s game, the finale in their four-game West coast trip, having won 16 road games this season which is tops among all teams in the Eastern Conference.
“This group is resilient,” said Celtics veteran Gerald Green. “A lot of times, we just don’t give up. A lot of times we ease up but we don’t give up. We just keep fighting and fighting.”
That character trait will serve them well tonight against a Mavericks team that just a few weeks ago was left for dead as a lottery-bound loser.
But in the past five weeks, they have won 11 games which is equal to their win total in the first 10 weeks of the NBA.
And while 22-32 isn’t a great record, it is good enough in the West this season to be a playoff contender with Dallas trailing Denver (24-30) for the eighth and final playoff spot out West by two games.
Here are five other factors that have contributed to the Celtics’ recent run of success.
SECOND HALF OFFENSE
Boston’s offense ranks among the league’s best, and a lot of that has to do with how well they execute in the second half of games this season. Boston has a league-best offensive rating of 114.0 this season, with Golden State (113.4) and Toronto (110.8).
It has been well documented that the Celtics have been a horrible rebounding team this season. But their recent run of success has been led in part by them doing a better job of holding their own on the glass. In the last 10 games, the Celtics have a .505 rebounding percentage which ranks 11th in the NBA during that span.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Boston’s ball-handling has been a strength all season. They come into tonight’s game ranked second in the NBA in assists percentage (.644), assists-to-turnover ratio (1.98) and are third in assists (25.3) per game.
HISTORICALLY HOT MAKING 3’S
Boston has made at least 10 3-pointers in 12 straight games which is a franchise record. It also stands as the seventh-longest streak in league history. And if Boston’s 12.1 made 3’s per game average stands, it would rank fifth all-time.
THOMAS IN THE FOURTH
Without question, one of the major keys to Boston’s success stems from Isaiah Thomas’ fourth quarter scoring. He currently leads the NBA in fourth quarter points per game (10.7) and ranks second in the league in scoring (29.8) to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (31.2).