The luck of the Celtics finally ran out Wednesday as they found themselves saddled with a double-digit deficit that, for once during their 16-game win streak, they couldn’t dig themselves out of.
Unlike previous rallies over the Thunder (18 points), the Hornets (18), the Warriors (17), the Hawks (16) and the Mavericks (13), the Celtics trailed the Heat by as many as 18 and, despite pulling within one late in the fourth quarter, missed what would have been their fourth straight double-digit comeback en route to a 104-98 defeat.
That ended their improbable streak at 16, which merely stands as tied for fourth longest in franchise history. In NBA annals, only 21 teams have ever engineered longer winning streaks.
“It’s tough (to lose), but I’m proud of this group,” Celtics forward Al Horford said. “It wasn’t like we were necessarily dominating during the streak. But the will of this team is something that needs to be accounted for.”
Here’s a closer look at the longest winning streaks in Boston Celtics history:
Nov. 15 – Dec. 23, 2008 | Roster | Schedule & results
Coming off their first title in 22 years, the Celtics forged the best start in club history at 27-2. Kevin Garnett’s season-ending knee injury thwarted any hopes of a repeat.
Feb. 24 – March 26, 1982 | Roster | Schedule & results
Julius Erving and the 76ers ended this streak as well as the Celtics’ back-to-back championship hopes a few months later in the Eastern Conference finals.
Nov. 28 – Dec. 30, 1959 | Roster | Schedule & results
With Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn leading an offense that had seven double-digit scorers, the Celtics went on to win the second of eight consecutive titles.
Dec. 19, 1964 – Jan. 22 1965 | Roster | Schedule & results
The Celtics opened the season 11-0 and didn’t look back, setting an NBA regular-season record with 62 victories before beating the Lakers in The Finals.
Oct. 20, 2017 – Nov 20, 2017| Roster | Schedule & results
At 16-2, Boston matched the best start in franchise history through 18 games. Going for win No. 17, the Celtics nearly pulled off their fourth straight double-digit comeback, cutting what had been an 18-point deficit down to one late in the fourth quarter, before losing to the Heat 104-98.