The Boston Celtics are on their longest win streak of the season, with their victory over the Detroit Pistons last night marking their fourth consecutive notch in the win column. Such streaks have been hard to come by for this squad, as they’ve recorded three consecutive wins just twice before this recent surge.
The team is finally healthy and the results are showing on the court. According to advanced metrics, they’ve been one of the best teams in the NBA since the start of the new year. When asked about what may have changed, big man Robert Williams put it simply — the Celtics were sick of losing.
“Sick of losing. Sick of going out like that. Sick of having the disgusting taste in your mouth. Checking each other as far as, like JB telling me ‘you gotta sit down on defense.’ Or I’ll tell JB, ‘hey, stop losing him.’ Just all in. Not giving negative responses when you receive criticism, I feel like we’ve been doing a great job of that”
Before the season began, there was a general consensus that the players wanted a coach who would hold them accountable. And while first-year coach Ime Udoka has certainly done that, it seems as though the players are now holding each other accountable, too.
Williams also noted that the veterans on the team have been stepping up lately. Their energy in the locker room is getting the team fired up and ready to rumble.
“Our older guys are doing a great job of, before games in the locker room, keeping a great energy and talking to us. JB, Smart, Al, all them are doing a great job preparing us before we even go out on the court. So when you got your main players fired up and they’re talking in your ear you gotta follow their lead.”
Al Horford recently mentioned that Jaylen Brown has been stepping it up in the locker room, and it seems as though he’s not the only one. Boston’s vets need to set the tone for the rest of the roster.
Jayson Tatum also spoke to the media after the Celtics’ win in Detroit. He touched on the team’s confidence, and how, although they may have been struggling to start the year, lack of confidence was never the issue.
“We’ve always been confident. Even when we were under .500. Frustrated might have been a better word. But, doubting ourselves? There was never any doubt in that locker room.”
Tatum expanded on the idea of getting frustrated, as he noted that the team knew they could be so much better than they were.
“Frustration, which was warranted. You know how we were playing and the results. And just frustrated because we knew how much better we could’ve been and still can be. But we’ve got a lot of confident guys in that locker room.”
Boston is rapidly climbing up the standings while some other teams are beginning to falter. They are half a game back of the seven-seeded Toronto Raptors and one game back of the six-seeded Brooklyn Nets. The Eastern Conference is getting particularly spicy.
The Celtics’ next game will be Sunday night, as they face off against the Orlando Magic at 7:30 p.m.