Celtics Resume Proves That We Should All Believe

BOSTON – Believe.

Believe that the Celtics have it in them.

Believe that team is greater than talent.

Believe that anything is possible.

Believe, Celtics fans, that Boston can take down LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.

Why should you believe, you might ask? Because the Celtics have given you, and everyone else who follows the NBA, great reason to do so.

The NBA is a “what have you done for me lately?” league. What the Celtics have done lately is become one of the elite teams in the NBA.

That’s no lie.

Which teams are the best teams in the NBA right now? If you don’t include the Boston Celtics in your answer, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

Forget for a moment that Boston lacks any All-Stars. Forget that its coach has never coached through a playoff series. Strip the names, the faces and accolades of other teams in the tournament.

What all of us must concentrate on is the proof in the pudding: that this group of Celtics is legit.

Since Feb. 2, there are only four teams in the NBA that have won 24 or more games: the defending-champion Spurs, the league-leading Warriors, the Cavaliers, and – wait for it – the Boston Celtics.

Boston has gone 24-12 since Feb. 2, matching Cleveland for the most wins in the Eastern Conference. Viewing this run as a flash in the pan would be a mistake. That 36-game sample size stands as 44 percent of the Celtics’ regular-season schedule.

Adding more credence to Boston’s case is who it has beaten during its late-season surge. The Celtics haven’t been beating up on the bottom-feeders in the NBA. Not in the least bit.

Nine of their 24 wins were against teams that qualified for the playoffs this season, including five during their final six games. Two of those victories were against Cleveland.

Six more wins were logged by Boston against teams that were competing for a playoff spot during the final week of the season. They were fighting for their playoff lives, and the Celtics put out their fire.

Why, exactly, have these Celtics been able to pull off such an impressive run to close the season? Well, because they can adapt.

They can score against anyone, led by a balanced offense that features Isaiah Thomas, who has averaged 19.0 points per game in a Celtics uniform.

They can defend when they need to, as they own the NBA’s top 3-point defense since Feb. 2 and have limited 14 opponents to 94 or fewer points during that span.

They can perform in the clutch, as evidenced by their 11 wins by six or fewer points since Feb. 2, including four buzzer-beating baskets.

They can take care of the ball, pass and rebound, as they ranked fourth (12.9 turnovers per game), fifth (24.4 assists per game) and eighth (44.6 rebounds per game) in those categories since Feb. 2.

They can do it all, not via superstar play, but instead by committee.

That, Celtics fans, is why you should believe.

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