The Celtics have played some great basketball over their last 5 games. It’s a small sample size, of course. But it can be useful to look at small snapshots at times. Some of these stats aren’t going to be sustainable over the course of a full season. However, it does show just how well the Celtics are playing now.
The Celtics played the Memphis Grizzlies, who were the number 1 ranked defense in the NBA at that time. As well as conference rivals in the Hornets, Heat and Pacers. They won all of those games. The lone loss came at the hands of Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Isaiah driving vs the Hornets Photo from celtics.com
Isaiah Thomas has been absolutely killing it over the last 5 games. Thomas averaged 31. 0 points and 6. 8 assists per game, while shooting 51% from the field and 39% from three-point range. His TrueShooting% over this same span is at 67. 8%. That TS% is 12th in the NBA over the last 5 games, among players who appeared in at least 4 games and averaged at least 20 MPG, out of 194 qualifying players.
Combine those 31 points per game with 16. 4 points he’s created with assists and that’s an impressive portion of the Celtics offense he’s accounted for. Thomas is creating for his teammates and passing the ball very well now. His AST% of 37. 4% is insanely good. No NBA player has averaged an AST% more than 30, and a TO ratio less than 10 over a full season. Thomas’ TO ratio over the last 5 games is an extremely low 6. 3. (Over the course of this season so far Thomas’ AST% is 32. 7 and his TO ratio is a 7. 0)
Isaiah’s last 5 games includes his 44 point outburst against the Grizzlies, where the Celtics were down by 17 in the third quarter and ended up winning in overtime. As well as 28 points and 9 assists against the Pacers. Thomas has been a rock solid performer for the Celtics over these last 5 games.
Horford has been another rock for the Celtics during this stretch. Horford averaged 16. 6 points, 9. 2 rebounds, and 4. 2 assists over the last 5 games. The rebounding
Horford holding the ball vs the Heat.
Photo from the Celtics official twitter account: @celtics
in particular has been huge for the celtics.As well as passing to cutters out of the post, something the Celtics have turned to frequently. While Horford also averaged 1. 2 steals and 1. 8 blocks per game over this stretch, it is hard to quantify his impact on the Celtics’ defense.
Horford came through with 17 points and 14 rebounds against the Grizzlies. The Celtics have had their troubles rebounding the basketball this season. However, it’s possible it’d be much worse without Al Horford in green.
These 3 players have also stepped up their level of play recently.
Amir had possibly his best game of the season in a losing effort against the Thunder. Amir put up 17 points 6 rebounds and 5 assists in only 25 minutes of play against OKC. Johnson is only averaging 21 minutes per game over the last 5, but is putting up 9 points and 4. 6 rebounds per game while shooting 66. 7% from the field and 50% from 3.
Amir might be one of the more under-appreciated celtics.He’s never going to be a very flashy player offensively, and he makes most of his impact outside of the box score. Amir also has had a rough season this year, and has earned the ire of a few Celtics fans. However him and Horford combined make on of the stronger defensive front-courts in the East. And when he’s given the ball in the paint he usually converts.
The Celtics defense has performed admirably during this stretch. Their defensive rating for the season is 104. 2. Over the last 5 games they’ve surrendered only 101. 5 points per 100 possessions on defense. The Celtics’ defensive rating ranks 5th in the NBA during that span. They forced the Pacers into 19 total turnovers while holding them to 97. 4 points over 100 possessions.
However the most important stat is simply wins. The Celtics posted their longest winning streak of the season, winning 4 of their last 5 games and 4 in a row. They notched their first signature win of the season against the number 1 defense in the NBA by beating the Grizzlies in overtime. Also consider 3 of those games were on the road. And 3 of their last 5 games were against teams with winning records, with the Pacers being a . 500 time before their game against the Celtics and the Heat being the lone team with a losing record that they faced.
Something To Build On
Hopefully the Celtics have built up some momentum over this stretch. The Celtics have played the most road games in the NBA so far this season. But by sweeping their last 3 games road trip, and winning 4 of their last 5, they’ve set themselves up nicely. They will have more home games than any other NBA team in the month of January. They need to take advantage. The Celtics are now 3rd in the East and 2nd in their division. They can further separate themselves with a few more stretches like the one they just had.