The growing pains for the Celtics’ offense over the first quarter of the regular season were glaring. A mix of poor chemistry within the starting five, subpar shooting, questionable shot selection and a tough schedule produced an offense that ranked 24th in the NBA through the first 19 games of the year (104 points per 100 possessions). The struggles had everyone on the roster looking themselves in the mirror and wondering just how good this group was after falling to the .500 mark in Dallas at 10-10.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses since then by any means. Injuries have piled up, team meetings have been held and ugly losses (at home vs. Phoenix) have popped up. Still, it’s tough to ignore the strides this group has made. They have the best record in the league (14-6) over the past 20 games (albeit against a soft schedule) after beating the Mavericks 114-93 on Friday night in a win littered with positives.
While going 14-6 over 20 games isn’t anything to write home about for a team that was expected to win over 55 games this year, the manner in which they are winning games is worth noting. The team that could barely score to start the season is long gone. Instead, the Celtics have transformed into the NBA’s best offense over the past 20 games.
The numbers don’t lie on this front. The Celtics have the No. 1 offense in the NBA since the halfway mark of their season, scoring 114.5 points per 100 possessions over the last 19 games. That’s a tremendous leap when you consider Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward have all missed multiple games during that stretch. Irving and Morris were sidelined on Friday night, yet the Celtics’ offense showed no signs of slowing down thanks to more consistent contributions across the board. Let’s take a closer look at what has led to this turnaround and whether it’s sustainable as the C’s try to claw their way back into the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.