Celtics enter all-star weekend with momentum
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The Boston Celtics approach the unofficial halfway point of their season, All-Star Weekend, in second place in the Eastern conference, two and a half games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for second place, and two and a half games ahead of the Washington Wizards, who are in third place.
The C’s net rating of 1.89 is ranked eighth in the league, while they are also ranked sixth in terms of points per game. Boston is currently 36 and 19, and are on pace to finish the regular season at 54-28.
The C’s entered this season ravaged by injuries, and only won five of their first ten games. Starters Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, and Jae Crowder, as well as key rotation pieces Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk all missed considerable chunks of the early season. However, as the roster rounded into form and players returned from injury, Boston would go onto win 31 of their next 45 games.
The early part of the season has featured the emergences and improvements of three different players. All-Star Isaiah Thomas has elevated his already potent scoring ability to the next level. Last season, he averaged 22.2 points, and this season, he has been averaging 29.8 points, which is good for second in the league, behind only MVP candidate Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Recent trade moves by the Toronto Raptors to acquire Serge Ibaka, and by the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire Kyle Korver, have created an arms race in the East. General Manager Danny Ainge has been reportedly looking to pry Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls, or Paul George from the Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics’ are on pace to finish with 54 wins, and also currently have the best odds to finish with the number 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. So while the present is promising for Boston, the future is arguably even more bright.