Sunday’s result should not be read as the Celtics are fake or the Cavs are better than the Celtics or the Celtics are doomed in the playoffs, although I dearly wish for all three of those things to be true. But it seems reasonable to say that the Celtics, who’ve had the NBA’s best defense this season, present an excellent test for any opponent, especially an opponent integrating four new rotation players on the fly. And the Cavs aced the absolute hell out of this test, crushing the Celtics 121-99, in a game in which the entire fourth quarter played out as garbage time. - From Deadspin
Sunday’s result should not be read as the Celtics are fake or the Cavs are better than the Celtics or the Celtics are doomed in the playoffs, although I dearly wish for all three of those things to be true.
But the Celtics are also not an especially good offensive team—they rank in the NBA’s bottom 10 in offensive efficiency—and a somewhat better test of Cleveland’s post-trade-deadline defense will come Tuesday, when the Cavs travel to Oklahoma City to face the 12th-ranked Thunder offense.
For starters, 121 points is the most the Celtics have given up in a game this regular season, and the 122.5 offensive rating put up by the Cavs Sunday afternoon is a full 22 points higher than what the Celtics allow per game.
The Celtics are a genuinely great defensive team, and the Cavs spent the middle quarters spinning them in circles, until the Boston crowd was finally reduced to booing the home team after Cavs buckets.
Today the Celtics had the Paul Pierce jersey retirement ceremony queued up for post-game entertainment, which meant restless and grumpy Celtics fans were pinned in their seats all the way to the bitter end.