The Celtics have figured it out
We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter. There was so much fretting about the Boston Celtics’ slow start -- it’s time to recognize that’s over now. Since Thanksgiving, the Celtics are an East-best 16-6 in the ledger with a league-best (by far) net rating of +11.2. (Next up is the Bucks at +6.9 during that span.) That’s about six weeks of evidence that the Celtics are who we thought they were: really talented, really deep, and really good. The latest evidence is a walloping of the really good Pacers on Wednesday, Boston’s fifth straight game with at least 30 assists as a team. The Celtics have the No. 1 offense in the league since Thanksgiving (top 10 overall on the season). Denver has been smoking hot lately too, and they also rack tons of assists. This is a way in which the C’s and Nuggets have cribbed a little from the Warriors: most players on the court any given moment are good and willing passers. It often adds up to something special when that happens. The Bucks and Raptors have been so good that early dismissals of Boston stuck a little too much. The Celtics are right back in this mix and might even end up the favorite to make the NBA Finals before it’s all said and done. Scores Pacers 108, Celtics 135Sixers 106, Wizards 123Hawks 100, Nets 116Bucks 116, Rockets 109Spurs 86, Grizzlies 96Cavaliers 124, Pelicans 140Suns 94, Mavericks 104Magic 93, Jazz 106Bulls 112, Blazers 124Pistons 100, Lakers 113 Schedule All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted. Celtics at Heat, 7, TNTClippers at Nuggets, 9Thunder at Spurs, 9:30, TNTPistons at Kings, 10 Links NBA is partnering with Twitter to offer something called ISO-CAM for some games. It will track a single player in the second half -- and fans will vote on who it will follow. Here’s who we want to see the most. Do the Raptors need another playmaker? Brian Windhorst doesn’t think the coach-GM trope will disappear because teams get desperate and high-profile coaches get power-hungry. He’s probably right. Does no one ever learn? What’s wrong with Marc Gasol? Oh my gosh there are talks to BRING ZACH RANDOLPH BACK TO NEW YORK yesssss make it happen. Three reasons Ryan Saunders’ debut win was so special. Jonathan Isaac’s worrisome trend. Sooner or later, Victor Oladipo needs superstar help. Doing an escape room with Tomas Satoransky. And finally: Kirk Goldsberry on the James Harden experience. Be excellent to each other.