Payton Pritchard and Derrick White slap hands after a basket against the Timberwolves

C's Offense Continues To Sizzle During Rout of Timberwolves

Boston’s league-best defense has received quite a bit of attention lately, and deservedly so. But the basketball world had better start paying attention to what the Celtics are doing at the other end of the court, where they now own the hottest offensive unit in the league over the last two months.

That’s right – the Celtics, who possess the league’s top overall defense this season, now also boast the league’s top offense since Jan. 29. Boston is 22-3 during that span with an offensive rating of 120.4. That rating has spiked to 124.5 during the month of March.

Boston’s offense it scalding, and it burned yet another defense Sunday night during a 134-112 victory over the visiting Timberwolves. And this wasn’t just any defense that the C’s singed; it was, in fact, the NBA’s top defense of the month heading into tip-off.

Minnesota entered Sunday with the league’s top defensive rating – by far – during March. Yet not even that defense had any answers for Boston, as the Celtics logged an absurd 50/40/90 shooting night as a team while notching their third-highest scoring output of the season.

The players were certainly enjoying themselves on the court, as they combined to shoot 56.3 percent from the field, 43.6 percent from 3-point range and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line against the Timberwolves. They consistently drained shots from all over the court, and Jaylen Brown even slammed home an alley-oop pass off the backboard from Marcus Smart to send the TD Garden faithful into a frenzy.

“It’s fun,” a smiling Derrick White said of the offense, after he poured in 15 points and six assists off the bench. “We’re just going out there, making the right basketball play, getting stops, getting out (and) running. It’s been a lot of fun.”

How could it not be when a team is playing at this level? Jayson Tatum, who notched a game-high 34 points Sunday night, did his best to explain what he’s enjoying most about this beautiful brand of basketball that the Celtics have been displaying.

“Winning, first of all,” he said, “and just kind’ve how we’re winning. Everybody’s playing a part, taking pride in defense and competing at that end of the floor. And then the ball is popping.”

He continued, “Whether you get double-teamed, pass it out, swing it around, guys – Payton (Pritchard) hitting 3s and things like that – everybody just feels a part of something, and [something] special.”

Nicely done, Jayson. That’s a perfect word to describe what everyone is witnessing from these Celtics. This style of basketball, especially offensively, is special. It’s what basketball dreams are made of.

When Boston has possession of the ball, it doesn’t stick in anyone’s hands. It moves with elite pace on nearly every possession, from side-to-side, and from player to player. No one is hunting shots or playing offense for themselves; instead, they’re playing for each other.

That tendency has led to a whopping average of 27.1 assists per game this month. This isn’t an every-couple-of-games thing, either. This is a nightly occurrence, which head coach Ime Udoka doesn’t expect to change.

“We see the success it’s brought us, and the success is contagious,” Udoka said. “Everybody cheering for each other playing a certain way. So no reason to think that will fall back at all.

“It’s a pretty simple message: play the same way we have to get us to where we are.”

Where the Celtics are now is atop of the Eastern Conference standings – with the league’s top defense and offense in tow.


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