ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg says the Celtics are clearly the best team in the NBA.
After Boston's 109-96 thumping of the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday at the Staples Center, there can be no argument. The Celtics wrapped up the month of January with a glossy 5-1 record against teams with records better than .500, including a 105-103 triumph over those very Spurs (which, if not for some careless final moments, wouldn't have been as close as the final score suggests).
It's clear the Celtics have saved their best basketball for top competition. For the season, they have a 17-5 mark overall against teams above .500. In fact, against the seven other Eastern Conference teams that would currently qualify for the postseason, Boston boasts a 13-2 mark, falling only to Chicago (the second night of a back-to-back to wrap up a slate of six games in nine days in January) and Orlando (a Christmas Day battle in which Boston fumbled away a double-digit, second-half lead).
Boston is not too shabby against the potential West playoff squads either, with a 6-3 mark against the eight current qualifiers (those losses being to Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Dallas).
Even more frightening (to the rest of the league) is that the Celtics should only get better. We've been saying it for months. Delonte West will change the make-up of the second unit. Jermaine O'Neal will give the frontcourt even more depth (even if its only 5-8 minutes per game).
Doc's biggest challenge is to get the 2nd unit familiar with one another:
"I don't know when [Boston will have a healthy roster], but it'd be nice to see [Shaquille O'Neal], Baby, Marquis and Delonte playing together," Rivers said. "In a lot of ways, that group is new to each other, so we have to get them to play together and show them what we need them to do."
Banner 18… it's inevitable!