Celtics get defensive

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Celtics get defensive

Earlier this season, the Celtics held 29 straight opponents under 100 points. This was the longest streak in the NBA in more than five years, and the longest shot clock era streak in franchise history.

Currently, thanks to yesterday's big win over Miami, the Celtics have held nine straight opponents under the 100-point mark, which ties them with Philly for the long active streak in the league.

So, what I'm trying to say is: These Celtics can play defense.

That shouldn't come as any big surprise, since Kevin Garnett's Celtics were always known for their defense. They were synonymous with defense. But for some reason, over the last year or so, that reputation as one of the league's preeminent defensive teams has started to fade. Perhaps that's because the Celtics haven't been as efficient offensively (we much prefer to obsess over what's wrong than appreciate what's right). Maybe it's because they haven't won a title in four years. Maybe it's because Tom Thibodeau took some of that defensive identity to Chicago. Maybe it's because we all just ran out of things to say. How many different ways can you say it?

Anyway, here's just a little reminder: The Celtics can still play D!

So far this season, they're holding opponents to 89.8 points a game, which ranks third in the NBA behind Philadelphia and Chicago. But even more interesting than that?

At their current pace, the Celtics will registered their lowest opponent points per game average since 1954.

Of course, that's a little skewed, because thanks to leftover rustiness from the lockout the league scoring average is down. For instance, in 2008, the Celtics held opponents to 90.3 points a game, but the league was averaging 99.9 points a night. This year, scoring's down to 96, so holding an opponent under 90 isn't quite what it used to be.

Still, records are records and this defense is on its way to setting themselves a nice one.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.