The Boston Celtics have had a terrific two weeks. They have won eight games straight and are sitting atop (just barely) the Eastern Conference with a 12-3 record. During this week's stretch, Boston played all four games this week without Malcolm Brogdon, while Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford also missed games. Despite the drama surrounding the coach that led them to the NBA Finals last season, and the fact that he is gone, the Celtics are on fire.
What has been the key to their success? Let's take a closer look.
Scoring And Offense
For starters, Boston leads the NBA in scoring. They are first in offensive rating. They average 120.4 points per game. They take good shots—they are third in the league in field goal percentage. They are fourth in three-point field goal percentage. While they are in the bottom half of the league in free throw attempts, they are second in the league in free throw percentage, at 84%. They are second in the NBA in effective field goal percentage. eFG is a statistic that adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. They are first in true shooting field goal percentage. The Celtics are an elite shooting team from every quantifiable metric.
Look at the way they pass the ball in this clip. Beautiful basketball is being played here.
Jayson Tatum And Company
Jayson Tatum is doing everything right now. This past week, Tatum put up over 30 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. For the season, he is averaging 31 ppg, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. He is also shooting 36% from beyond the arc. His PER of 26.5 is the best of his career, albeit in a small sample size. Tatum is doing his best to garner MVP consideration.
This week, Grant Williams took advantage of extra playing time, averaging 14.3 points on 48% from beyond the arc in over 33 minutes per game.
Considering depth was supposed to be a problem for Boston this year, guys like Sam Hauser giving huge minutes is a problem for the rest of the NBA. Off the bench, Hauser is averaging 7.9 points per game on 53% shooting and a scorching 48% from outside.
If Tatum continues to play like an MVP, with guys like Williams, and Hauser adding depth, and Malcolm Brogdon averaging 21.5 points off the bench, every Eastern Conference team not named the Bucks should be worried. Boston looks even better than last season.