|Connelly’s Top Ten: Bruins Up 2-0||2013 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: Third Round||After Three Hour Rain Delay, Red Sox Complete Sweep of Twins||2013 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: Second Round Results|
The amazing Celtics have won six straight games, including four straight on the West Coast after a 110-91 (NBA.com Box Score) win Sunday night over the Lakers and a 104-98 win (NBA.com Box Score) over the Utah Jazz Saturday night. Paul Pierce poured in a game-high 33 points Sunday to help bring the C’s overall record to an NBA-best 26-3.
This was to be the Celtics’ truest test of the season. Four games on the West coast against some potent Western Conference teams. The way the C’s have been playing, I figured they’d probably finish the trip 3-1. But again, the C’s have proved me wrong in sweeping all four opponents easily.
In the first game against the Jazz, Pierce led the Celtics again in scoring with a game-high 24 points. He has been coming on strong as of late, and I wouldn’t be surprised he reels in another NBA Eastern Conference player of the week award.
The overall team defense against the Jazz wasn’t overly impressive, as they allowed Utah to shoot 54.8% from the field. But, the C’s relied on a strong 3-point shooting night, going 10-21 beyond the arc. Ray Allen made as many threes (5) as the Jazz did all night.
The next night, the Celtics were supposed to show signs of a lack of energy. They did just the opposite against the now-19-11 Lakers, who had a four-game winning streak prior to the game. Pierce led all scorers with 33 points and also contributed 8 boards. Kevin Garnett totaled 22 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, to lead the Celtics to a strong team-defensive effort. The C’s allowed the Lakers to shoot just 35.4% from the floor.
Tony Allen, subbing in the starting lineup for the injured Rajon Rondo (tightness in his hamstring), scored 16 points and defended Kobe Bryant for much of the game. He and the rest of the C’s held Kobe to 22 points on 6-of-25 shooting (including 0-6 from 3-pt land).
It’s been an amazing season for the Green so far this season. They finished a startling 26-3 in November and December, and are on pace for one of the best seasons in team history. Next up for the C’s is a home game Jan. 2 against the Rockets.