The offer on who can be the MVP of the regular season of the NBA is very wide. Stats, most spectacular plays and qualities of the candidates abound. Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and Joel Embiid they dispute the scepter that he obtained for two consecutive campaigns Nikola Jokic. What is not in discussion, or should not be, is which is the best team in the league so far. There the menu is a single dish: Boston Celtics.
We uncorked a special wine, served it in the prettiest glass, and sat down to enjoy yet another Celtics show. An advert: the team led by Joe Mazzulla is not the most spectacular, it will not deliver the play that makes us startle and it does not have the star that everyone admires. It is simply the best.
In fact, the Celtics have Doncic as their opponent, the player of the moment. And they don’t worry. They let him shine, but prevent him from involving his teammates in the game. Thus, the Slovenian scores but does not assist, especially in the first half in which Boston takes a 21-point lead, the maximum difference from those in green in any half of the season.
Dinner, with the Celtics, is a dish that is enjoyed slowly. “Boston brought defensive intensity to the table, they are all very active,” analyzes Chapu Nocioni in the broadcast of ESPN. And yes, one of the great virtues of the last NBA finalist is defense. All players are engaged in that task. And you can see it. That does not shine, but it generates victories.
In attack, Mazzulla’s men also perform an outstanding collective task. They pass the ball until they find the best positioned teammate to punish with a steady foot shot. Six players finish the game with double digits in points and the team shoots for 50% in triples. “Al Horford it’s good”, reads the shirt of a fan who enjoys a distance hit from the Dominican, perfect with 4 of 4 from third dimension. Boston scored 125 or more points in four consecutive games at home, its longest streak since 1985 .
Although the group is what sustains the Celtics solidly, there are two talents that stand out: Jayston Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They do what the team needs of them and more. They excel in attack and defense. They score, they rebound, they pass, they close roads, they take over the ball when the Dallas Mavericks try a minimal reaction. The flashes and cameras leave with Doncic’s 42 points, but Tatum (37 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks) and Brown (31 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals) are the stars of the night .
JT and JB each scored 25 points or more for the 10th game this season, a record only achieved by them as a team in the entire league. And it’s the 16th time in their careers that they’ve each scored at least 30 points in the same game, a record in Celtics history and something only two pairs of teammates have done more times in the last 30 years: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (34) and Shaquille O’Neal Kobe Bryant (33). The information offered by the ESPN data and statistics department is compelling. “The two Boston stars combine very well. And they don’t mention it, but Tatum is a candidate for MVP,” Nocioni sentences into the microphone. And he is right.
The victory is consummated long before what the final score and the horn at the end of the game indicate. Thus, the Celtics remain undefeated this season against any team not named Bulls or Cavaliers.
Between the rich wine and the abundant dinner and with the indicated ingredients, we passed on dessert. Needless. Boston Celtics left us full of basketball.
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Boston Celtics, simply the best team in the NBA