By Max Tarlin (Basketball Correspondent)
The number that has represent Tom Brady and the Patriots for so many years is the current source of Celtic Pride that has not been felt since January in 2010.
The Celtics are cruising right now, with twelve straight wins and the best record in basketball. Not only that, but if the season ended today their team defensive rating–94.5– would be the best single season rating since the Bulls in 2011-2012.
Senior Ben Grady says that this fantastic start has been led by Al Horford dominating the court on both sides of the ball. “The way Al can move the ball, whenever the ball goes through him, we get the best opportunities,” said Grady.
Not only has Horford anchored the offense, but his defense has been pivotal throughout this win streak. “He makes the players around him better. That is the Al Horford effect,” said Grady.
Senior Drew Naisuler says that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have looked like five-year veterans this year and have been fantastic. “Obviously Kyrie Irving is going to go out and get his, but he would not be as effective without the development of the younger guys,” said Naisuler.
The young guys have been the most surprising part of the run so far, with six different rookies appearing in at least one game throughout this run. According to Sean Grande, no team has ever gone on this long of a win streak with that many first year players.
Sophomore Jaiden Thomas says that Aron Baynes has been the biggest surprise so far, and his bruiser style of play is exactly what the Celtics were missing. “He does great things, with great tenacity and fire, all while wearing a stellar beard,” said Thomas.
As a team, the Celtics stats so far have been stellar. After finishing last year ranked 27th in defensive rebound percentage, they are currently fourth at 81.2%. They lead the league in opponent effective field goal percentage.
Most importantly, they have 49 straight wins when holding teams to under 99 points, and if they keep having the best defense in the league, they will be hard to beat.
Senior Demetri Mousis says that their defense has been incredible, but they need to shoot better and more efficiently. “If they can even become an average team from a shooting standpoint, they can make a run for the title this year,” said Mousis.
Naisuler hopes that they can keep up this high level of play and continue to dominate every game. “It is very satisfying to be a Celtics fan right now,” said Naisuler.
The Celtics look to continue their streak as they take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight at the Barclays Center.