What a difference a win streak makes (not to mention a 56 point win over a team in turmoil). To put this in perspective, let’s take a look at where they were.
On Thanksgiving-eve, the Celtics were 13th in the league in net rating (1.5) mostly bolstered by a defensive rating of 102.8 (2nd in the league). The offensive rating was 104.3 which ranked them 27th in the league.
They have clearly turned things around offensively. This is partly attributed to an easy schedule, but these are the same kinds of teams (and the Knicks were the same team) that tripped up the Celtics earlier in the year.
From Thanksgiving on, the Celtics own the number one offensive rating 121.6, the number 3 defensive rating (100.4), and the number one net rating (21.4 ...and the next closest is the T-Wolves at 10.4)
So what has happened lately? Jay King points out the following factoids.
The Celtics have scored at least 115 points in five straight games for the first time since 1988. They have made at least 13 3-pointers in five straight games for the first time ever. This season has brought a scoring bonanza across the NBA and, finally, the Celtics have joined the fun.
Not too shabby.
Overall, with all the struggles of November and all the dominance of December, the Celtics are now 3rd in net rating (11th in offense, 2nd in defense). That’s quite a turnaround (and one that should help the Celtics in the various Power Rankings that generally come out on Mondays).
Now it is up to the Celtics to continue this success moving forward (and against stiffer competition). Still, the sample sizes are getting bigger and the team is getting closer to the levels that we had expected coming into the season.