We've been hearing it all season long. The Celtics have a championship swagger. Last night, the Hornets found out what was all about.
Swagger is relentless. Swagger is focus. Swagger is absorbing the blows and still moving forward.
Last night, the Celtics came out sloppy. Bad passes were being thrown everywhere. But they still kept it close… until that swagger kicked in. When that 3rd quarter came around, that relentlessness… that focus… was on full display. Kendrick Perkins was backing people down. Paul Pierce was blowing by everyone. The Celtics shooting percentage crept upward, the Hornets' crept downward. And there wasn't a turnover to be found on that Celtics stat sheet.
The wobbly legs didn't matter. The early turnovers didn't matter. Chris Paul being Chris Paul didn't matter. The Celtics are a machine. Byron Scott knows that now.
"They aren't playing like a team that has won a championship. Most teams, when they get a championship, they get a little fat. They kind of live on those laurels for a whole year. They just take it as it comes.
"I know we did that when we had our back-to-back championships. We came out even more determined [the second season]. That's definitely the kind of look that they have when I see them play."
So for the 14th straight time, a wannabe stepped up to the C's in an effort to make the Champs look mortal. And for the 14th straight time, that team left the arena in a wide-eyed daze.
Herald: C's make it 14th straight | Title "something special" for Posey | Posey return has nice ring | All eyes on victories, no streaks | Globe: Buzz saws | Posey unsure of PJ Brown's intentions | Debate- Bruins vs. Celtics | TD Banknorth Garden puts off name change | MWDN: C's pull it together | Eagle Tribune: C's doing just fine without Posey | ESPN: Rondo taking Celtics to new heights | Cavs win 11th straight, go to 20-3
After the jump, a bunch of photos from the game
All previous photos by Brian Babineau, courtesy NBAE/Getty Images
Following photos via Associated Press