The Boston Celtics 16-Game Win Streak Snapped by Miami Heat
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Kyrie Irving said following a 104-98 loss at the hands of the Miami Heat, putting an end to the Boston Celtics’ 16-game win streak.
“It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This marked Boston’s first loss in 35-days. It was an incredible streak from an unexpected team – that being a team not heralded out of Cleveland or the Bay Area. Despite the loss, the Celtics made a statement and one they most definitely had to make following losing All-Star Gordon Hayward for the year. Hayward or not, the Celtics are as advertised – they are a top-two team in the Eastern Conference and one focused on giving the Cavaliers are run for their money come the Eastern Conference Finals.
As the Celtics wake up the morning after the streak died, they can reflect and realize that they have learned so much about the roster they have built. They are not a high octane, fire-power driven team that will drop 130-points on a weak defence. They don’t shoot the three-pointer particularly well, they don’t score a ton – in fact, they are ranked in the bottom third in points per game and they are pitted 18th overall in offensive rating.
But what the Celtics can do is defend and boy could they ever defend.
Ranking first in opponents points allowed per game (95.3) and defensive rating (98.1), the Celtics are rugged and hard-nosed. They are grinders and they simply outwork their opposition. The Terry Roziers, the Jaylen Browns, and the Marcus Smarts of the world are physical, they try to bully their opponents and they compete.
With all this around Al Horford and more notably Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics have players who compliment each other. Horford presents a very unique skill set that is not often seen in many bigs, while Irving, well, he’s Kyrie Irving. With a fresh start, Irving has looked like the guy who ended the Golden State Warriors’ shot of a repeat. Finally receiving the opportunity to lead a team as opposed to playing in the shadow of a certain other superstar, Irving has been playing as advertised. Clutch, dancing on defenders, and finishing at the rim as effectively as any guard in NBA history.
The emergence of Brown coupled with the extraordinary leadership of one of the league’s best young coaches, Brad Stevens, the Celtics have overcome the loss of Hayward and have proven to the NBA world that they are a legitimate threat in the East.
And even the morning after, that fact does not change!