Sugar Ray and The Truth: The Boston Celtics Getting It Done
(Originally posted on 4SportBoston.com )
The Boston Celtics have been red-hot over the last three weeks, mounting 11 straight wins and looking impressive on all corners of the court.
Not only have the wins been racking up, and the team playing with the ultimate "ubuntu," but two of the Big Three have been blessed with reaching some major milestones in their careers over the stretch.
During this past Thursday's big win down in Washington, DC, Paul Pierce picked up 12 points over 33 minutes of play and reached the 19,000-point plateau for his career.
Surely a big night for Pierce, but it was quickly overshadowed by the number hit by Ray Allen.
Sugar Ray hit the 20,000-point plateau in the same game against the Wizards in an 18-point, seven-rebound game.
Allen became the 32nd player in NBA history to reach the 20,000-point mark; he hit the milestone on what else but a three-pointer, his signature shot.
This December, the Celtics have taken a page from the New England Patriots (maybe pre-2009) playbook and made this month their best stretch of the season.
Having gone 7-for-7 in wins for the month, the Celts are shooting better than they have all year with a .503 average. They are also, as a result of the improved shooting, scoring the most points per game of their season with 103.
Coming off of a great 110-105 win in Memphis, the Celtics are back home in the TD Garden, and ready for three straight home games against the Philadelphia 76ers and two other teams that they have had trouble with already this year: the Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers.
The 20-4 Celtics, currently holding the best record in the NBA, will welcome Philly to the Garden on Thursday after already beating up on them twice this season in 113-110 and 105-74 games. Coming off of a three-day break (two of which are even off of practice), this team should be well-rested to run with the Sixers and put up another "W."
Back on November 4th, the Timberwolves gave the C's a run for their money in Minnesota in a narrow 90-92 loss. Boston shot just 44.6 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from three-point range. But that was amidst the uneasy period earlier in the season, and fans can rest assured that the kinks have been worked out.
The Pacers should be a different story than last time as well.
If you remember, the last game against Indy was the game where Pierce was nursing a bum knee that he should have taken a day off to recuperate from, but didn't.
The biggest threat to the Celtics with this opponent is Danny Granger. The kid seriously knows how to ball, and for some reason has the Celtics' number.
Granger is averaging 24.4 points per game over the season, and put up 29 on Boston in their first meeting. He shot 8-for-16 from the field along with a stellar 6-for-9 from three and 7-for-7 from the stripe.
Granger is a powerful asset to this team, but the other weapon that hurt was seventh-year player Dahntay Jones. Jones went to the line 15 times against the Celtics in their first meeting, which led to his 25-point game.
This team should be able to keep the flow going here through these three games over the next week and pick up three more Ws.
The main factor will be keeping up with these young teams with a small bench (Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels are still out with injuries, and Lester Hudson was sent up to Maine to play with the NBDL).
Hopefully Danny Ainge can get a backup to help out Rondo before times get drastic. With a tough road trip starting on Christmas in Orlando and then heading to the West Coast, now may certainly be the time to act.
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