The Celtics head to London this week with the most wins in the NBA at 33.
That’s impressive on its own but even more striking is who they’ve beaten so far this season. So far this season, the Celtics have beaten the six best teams in the Western Conference (Warriors, Rockets, Spurs, Timberwolves, Thunder, Nuggets) and five of the six best teams in the Eastern Conference excluding themselves (Raptors, Cavaliers, Heat, Bucks, Pistons). The one blemish there is the Wizards – who beat the C’s on Christmas Day in Boston, 111-103.
The Celtics will be shooting for revenge against Washington on Thursday, Feb. 8 in D.C..
Now, the West is perceived as the mightier conference by most everyone – but the Celtics have actually done better against the West’s elite teams this season than the teams that reside in the East.
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The Heat, currently fifth in the East with a 22-17 record, beat the Celtics at the Garden, 90-89, on Dec. 20 and were the team to end the Celtics’ lengthy winning streak at 16 games on the night before Thanksgiving in Miami. The Celtics beat the Heat in Miami way back on Oct. 28, but that now seems like eons ago.
One team the Celtics have had zero issues with so far this season is the 76ers, who they’ll see Thursday in London (3 p.m., NBC Sports Boston) and a week from Thursday at the Garden.
London has hosted eight NBA games since 2011 and this is the most anticipated game yet, according to The Express UK.
It will technically be a “home game” for the Sixers but Celtics guard Terry Rozier expects the C’s to win over the crowd.
“We have a great history, and not knocking the 76ers because they’re a great team, but I think the fans are going to find out why they should support us over the 76ers when we play them in London,” Rozier told The Express.
Rozier had been on a tear prior to a two-point outing in the Celtics win in Brooklyn Saturday night. In the previous six games Rozier scored at least 13 points.
The Celtics ripped Philly, 108-97, on Nov. 30 in Boston and toppled the Sixers in their arena, 102-92, back on Oct. 20.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is making sure Jayson Tatum’s early-career success is not going to his head.
“I sent him a text that there’s a lot of things that can derail forward progress,” Stevens said after Tatum won the NBA Rookie of the Month award for December. “At the end of the day though it’s continuing to do all the great things that he’s doing, because he’s consistent, and that’s why he got [the award] because he’s played well and he’s consistent. It’s really hard to be consistent at any age, but certainly at 19-years-old. So there’s a great opportunity to now respond to that nice reward.”
Tatum responded in typical fashion Saturday night against the Nets, scoring the Celtics’ last two buckets – one a monster one-handed slam and the other a corner 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 87-85 road win.