Okay, okay, so it's not 20 wins in a row (Houston Rockets), but the Boston Celtics have quietly built up and maintained the NBA's second longest winning streak at 10 games.
So what's responsible for this turnaround shortly after losing three straight?
It's simple: The veteran leadership on this team has created a just-win mentality that has driven Boston all season.
In fact, Boston has attained its first 50 win season since the Bird era, this current team also was the first team to lock a playoff spot (even if it is the Eastern Conference), and still have the league's top record.
Kevin Garnett has brought an entire new attitude to this team. He has challenged his teammates to pick up their defense, and it shows. At 100.2 points, the Celtics hold the NBA's best defensive ranking.
But more than that, the veteran acquisitions have inspired the type of selfless chemistry that is a key ingredient to quality contending franchises, such as the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons. Garnett has recently even acknowledged Paul Pierce as the MVP of the team, saying that he "makes scoring look easy." With all the talent this team has, it remains impressive how evenly distributed the spotlight remains.
However, Garnett is not the only veteran having an impact on the Celtics' makeup. New acquisitions Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown bring experienced, successful players who will fits into the Celtics' mold because they too carry themselves with class and proper attitudes.
Cassell's mind may possibly be more valuable to the Celtics than his actual on-court minutes. He holds priceless championship experience from his days with the Rockets. Cassell has been using his knowledge to mentor young point guard Rajon Rondo, whose development has been nothing short of terrific.
As an added bonus, Cassell has already logged serious court time with Ray Allen, and Garnett, in Milwaukee and Minnesota respectively. This will be useful because he knows all about their styles of play, where they like to get the ball, and most importantly, how to keep them happy.
Expect the Celtics to finish strong with a terrific record, and keep an eye out as well for their upcoming matchup with the red hot Rockets.
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