Patriots

Thibodeau: Celtics playing at 'high level'

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Thibodeau: Celtics playing at 'high level'

BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau has seen the Boston Celtics play championship-caliber basketball. He has also watched them struggle at times on the court.

After a slow start at the beginning of this season, the former Celtics assistant coach and current Chicago Bulls head coach believes the Cs are back on track.

Theyre very experienced and I think theyre playing at a very high level, Thibodeau said following the Celtics 95-91 win over the Bulls on Sunday. Even in the Lakers game (an 88-87 Celtics overtime loss), I thought they played very well and could have won that. Of course they won the nine out of ten -- Ill throw out the Toronto game (an 86-74 loss) because to me that was a scheduling game. Back-to-back, late start here, and then travel to Toronto, that was a tough game for them.

Theyre playing at a high level. When you have (Paul) Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin (Garnett), and (Rajon) Rondo running the team, their bench I think is playing very well, theyre getting a lot of contributions from a number of different people. So theyre going to be a dangerous team.

During the Bulls previous visit to Boston, in which they won 88-79, Thibodeau emphasized the impact Pierce has on the Celtics. Pierce was coming off a foot injury at the time and was still working to find his rhythm back on the court. Now that he has established it (he was recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week), Thibodeau points to the Celtics captain as a major factor in their success.

He also noticed the improvements in the Celtics bench. Rookie JaJuan Johnson scored a career-high 12 points on Sunday and Chris Wilcox, moved to the starting lineup in place of an injured Jermaine ONeal, contributed 11 points and nine rebounds.

I think Paul is healthy, so thats the big thing, he said. Rondos healthy, Kevins been at a high level all year, and Rays had a spectacular year. But I think the big thing is their bench has had time now to get acclimated to their system and comfortable playing with each other. I think when you have a shortened camp like everybody did, if you have new players its going take time. But I think the big thing is Pauls health.

The Celtics (15-12) will face the Bulls (23-7) again on Thursday in Chicago.

Redskins' 20-10 victory adds to woes for Giants (2-9)

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Redskins' 20-10 victory adds to woes for Giants (2-9)

LANDOVER, Md. - Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time. Click here to read more. 


 

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen. 

Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak. 

MORE CELTICS:

A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games: 

- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks. 

- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents. 

- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors. 

- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors. 

So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books. 

Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:

STARTING FRIDAY

Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)

Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)

A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it. 

Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)

Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait. 

STARTING NOV. 30

Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)

Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion. 

Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)

Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)

Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home. 

Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)

Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will. 

Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)

Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win. 

Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)

The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out. 

Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)

Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)

Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages. 

Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win) 

Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win) 

Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)

The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18. 

THE REST OF THE SEASON

We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).