Celtics now lead the NBA with a seven-game cushion ahead of second-placed Cavaliers


Boston provided one of the most exciting NBA clashes of the weekend when they visited New York this Saturday and beat the Knicks 116-102 at the Madison Square Garden. After this impressive display, they claimed their season-best eight straight win and now have a seven-game lead over Cleveland in the Eastern Conference’s standings.

In the West, the Timberwolves are leading the conference but have less than a seven-win cushion with every team in the first eight spots. As the Celtics have already been in this position in the past couple of seasons and failed in the playoffs, they assure they have higher objectives at hand.

“It’s just the way kind of the season has gone,” Al Horford said postgame. “We’ve kind of held our own, continued to work through things. Obviously the Sixers have injuries, different teams have different stuff going on, so that all goes into account.

“But I can just speak to we’re continuing to play good basketball. We’re really trying to play the right way. I feel like [Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla] is really challenging us to continue to get better. This is the stretch of the season where we can really take it to another level, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

When asked about how Boston can improve after a league-best 45-12 record, the Celtics veteran simply smiled. “That’s a really good question,” he said. “But I feel like we’re not where we need to be yet, and that’s a good thing.”

Not only are motivation’s high, but the team’s efficiency is off the roof, as the Massachusetts club dropped 9 three-pointers in the third quarter alone. “The guys understand how to positively impact each other,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “They understand how going into something at one point in the game is going to open it up for someone else later in the game.

“And we have different combinations, and the guys trust those combinations, and it puts us in a better position to win. At the end of the day, it’s about winning, and the guys are understanding that. They understand how they affect each other.”

The Boston squad is well aware that the real impact needs to come during the postseason, as the club hasn’t won a title in over 15 years

Believe it or not, the Celtics have won more regular-season matches than any other team since 2016 with 394, and come in second in playoff victories with 61, only behind the Golden State Warriors who’ve won four titles in 9 years.

The league leaders are well aware that the most important competition will happen during the postseason, as they hope this will be the year they’ll conquer their 18th championship. Everyone inside the roster is having fun so far, but know that they must remain focused for the next chapter.

“When it comes down to the playoffs, none of that stuff really matters,” Jaylen Brown shared. “I feel like it’s going to be about matchups, it’s going to be about playing hard. Obviously, home court matters, so that is key, but when you get into the thick of it, you got to win basketball games, regardless of what your seed is.

“If anything, it puts more pressure on you. But I think we’re an experienced team. We’ve been in these situations before, and I think we’re ready.”