Boston's Blowout of Hornets Caps Off Best Month at Home in 30 Years
BOSTON – It’s no easy task winning 10 NBA games in a single month. Capturing 10 wins in a single month at home? Now, that’s a whole different challenge.
The Celtics accomplished that feat Wednesday night with a 126-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden, where Boston won an astounding 10 of 11 games during the month of January.
“It’s just a great feeling,” point guard Terry Rozier said of the confidence the team has when it steps onto its home court. “Our fans are unbelievable, so it’s just always good playing here. There’s [nothing] like this atmosphere. So, 10-1 sounds pretty good to me.”
The Celtics hadn’t won that many games at home in a single month since going 10-0 in March of 1989. So, that’s “pretty good,” indeed.
January was a month that the Celtics had been looking forward to, especially after playing 20 of their first 36 games away from home, including 11 road games against Western Conference teams.
“When you looked at the schedule in the summer, what stood out was that October, November and December were going to be really, really tough from a travel perspective,” C’s coach Brad Stevens said. “And then the opportunity to play more at home, be home and sleep in your bed, which is obviously always a good thing.”
Being at home and sleeping in their own beds seemed to have in impact right off the bat for the C’s, as they opened up the New Year with a four-game homestand that featured wins over the Timberwolves, Mavericks, Nets and Pacers, respectively, which included an average victory margin of 20.5 points.
Things would cool off for Boston momentarily, as it hit the road for a winless three-game stretch, but its fire rekindled upon returning home, where it would beat Toronto – the top team in the league at the time – and Memphis.
The C’s then earned their lone road win of the month with a victory in Atlanta, before finishing off January with a five-game homestand that featured a pair of wins over Miami and Cleveland, a four-point loss to Golden State, and finally two more victories against Brooklyn and Charlotte.
“It’s always important to take care of home (court),” point guard Marcus Smart said. “And it gives us a little momentum going on the road. To get that confidence here at home is important.”
It sure is, because Boston will only play at TD Garden 14 more times over its final 31 games. And the road hasn't been as kind to the C's.
“Our road wins have been a little down this year, so this is important for us to just keep doing what we’re doing (at home),” said Rozier, whose Celtics are 11-13 on the road compared to 21-6 in Boston.
“We’ve got to make sure we have the same mindset on the road,” added Jaylen Brown, who scored a game-high 24 points Wednesday night. “That’s where our concern is right now.”
Boston’s immediate concern is the New York Knicks, whom the C’s will visit Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Stevens hopes that the team's momentum will carry over from one Garden to the next.
“We need to use whatever we gained from it," he said of Boston's recent success at home, "go into February and play as well as we can in the next 14 days prior to the All-Star break and hopefully finish the season strong.