For so many years, teams from the Eastern Conference were usually in for a rough go of things in the Wild, Wild Western Conference.
But lately, the wild West has been more like the mild west for the Boston Celtics.
They come into tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns having found a great deal of success when they’ve ventured out West this season.
Coming off a 115-95 win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the Celtics are now 4-1 this season on road trips of three or more games, against teams in the Western Conference.
And overall, the Celtics are 11-2 on road trips with involving three or more games.
As much as the Celtics have talked about wanting to do all they can to secure home court advantage through as many rounds of the playoffs as possible, they know all too well that there’s a good chance they’ll need to win a game on the road whether it’s to close out a series or extend it.
That’s why Boston’s ability to play well on the road is so vital not only to their overall success, but to their chances of best ensuring themselves of moving along through the playoffs.
For the Celtics to have such success on the road this season, speaks to how much this franchise has improved under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens.
Hired by the Celtics in 2013, Stevens lost his first 19 road games against Western Conference teams. But since then, he has posted a 19-18 record which includes Boston winning 10 of its last 17 road games against teams out West.
Here are some additional notes and nuggets compiled by CSN Associate Producer Andy Levine.
EVERYBODY JUST, DUNK, DUNK: Jaylen Brown was a human highlight reel against the Lakers with some of his above-the-rim theatrics. But he wasn’t the only Celtic dunking the ball. In fact, Boston wound up with eight dunks total – a season high. It was the most dunks by the Celtics since they had 10 against Oklahoma City on March 18, 2015.
SHUT ‘EM DOWN: The Celtics held the Los Angeles Lakers to just 95 points, their second straight game limiting a team to less than 100 points scored. When they do that, Boston has a 17-1 record which is a winning percentage of .944. Only Houston (17-0, 100 percent) and Golden State (18-1, 94.7 percent) have a higher percentage in such games.
HORFORD SLUMP OVER?: We’ve seen Al Horford go through stretches in which he has struggled, but he seems to have found a nice groove lately. In the last four games, he is just one of seven players in the NBA over the last four games to average nine-plus points seven-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and do so shooting 100 percent from the line while committing less than two turnovers per game.
BIG SCORING NIGHT FOR THE C’S: Boston has shown itself to be an explosive offense, and they might get a little bit of help in doing that tonight. Phoenix comes into tonight’s game as one of the NBA’s worst teams defensively, allowing 112.6 points per game (second-to-last in the NBA); 38.5 percent from 3-point range and 16.2 fast-break points, both league highs.
BRIGHT SPOT FOR THE SUNS: One of the more pleasant surprises for the Suns has been the play of Alan Williams. He has appeared in 28 games this season for the Suns, averaging 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. But during Phoenix’s current two-game winning streak, he has had a double-double in each game, averaging 15.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. “This guy has been an elite rebounder since he was a kid,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters recently. “For him to go to UCSB … he rebounded at a historic rate. He comes here right now, his offensive rebounding is at a ridiculous rate. He’s got great motor, great energy, he plays the game with a lot of character. He’s done a great job for them.”