Good, bad, & ugly: C's not thinking about standings

Good, bad, & ugly: C's not thinking about standings
November 11, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are tops in the Atlantic Division.

No, it is not a typo and no you don't need to refresh your computer's browser.

Monday's 120-105 win over Orlando evened the Celtics record at 4-4 which gives them a share of the best record in the division along with another surprise team during this early portion of the season, Philadelphia.

And the irony of Boston's rise to the top is that the team holding down the bottom of the division is the Brooklyn Nets (2-4), pegged to be a title contender this season and still may be, but certainly not one at the moment.

Gerald Wallace, who was one of the Nets players acquired by Boston from Brooklyn in the blockbuster trade this summer involving Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, isn't giving much thought to the Celtics' current standing in the Atlantic.

"It means nothing to me," Wallace said of the Nets' bottom-of-the-Atlantic status. "Where are we in the Eastern Conference? That's more important. I ain't worried about this division."

Celtics players continue to avoid the 'p' word - playoffs - as much as they can, well aware that the success they have now could easily go away at a moment's notice.

Instead, there's another 'p' word - progress - that they have embraced as the only thing that will continue to carry them forward.

"More important, we know we could easily be ... 0-8 or we could be 8-0," Wallace said. "The main thing we want to take is, we felt like we gave the first four games away. But they were a learning experience for us, and we've gotten better. That's the main thing we want to do; keep improving as a team."

And with that we have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from yet another impressive performance by the Celtics that catapults them to the top of the Atlantic Division standings - the last place most expected to the Celtics this season let alone after eight games.


THE GOOD

Celtics guards

Avery Bradley's game-high 24 points was certainly player of the game-worthy, but the truth is Monday's victory for the Celtics was a game that was dominated in every phase of the game by their guards.

In addition to Bradley's play, Boston point guard Jordan Crawford had 16 points along with 10 assists without a turnover.

Off the bench, Courtney Lee (12 points, 5-for-8 shooting) and Phil Pressey (7 points, 3-for-6 shooting) were solid as well.

With so many different players chipping in, the Celtics become an extremely tough team to match up against.


Gerald Wallace

He missed his only field goal attempt of the night and finished with a single point, but Wallace continues to provide more to this team than his box score indicates.

Despite six teammates logging more minutes, Wallace made the most of his time with a team-best, plus/minus ratio of +20.

"Plus-20 only points I care about," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "He's been nothing but an energizer off the bench."


Kelly Olynyk

He continues to get more and more comfortable with the starting unit. Monday was indeed a breakout-type game for Olynyk who had 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds and five assists.


THE BAD

Offensive rebounds

The Magic had a 14-8 offensive rebound advantage over Boston, but the Celtics did a nice job of not allowing Orlando to convert those second and third-shot attempts into points.

Orlando converted those opportunities into 16 second-chance points on 6-for-13 shooting, while the Celtics had 14 second-chance points on 6-for-7 shooting.


THE UGLY

3-point shooting

Having an opponent shoot 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) on 3s isn't that bad ... unless you're the Boston Celtics who came into Monday's game tops in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28).

It didn't play a major factor in the game's outcome, obviously. But you can bet it's one of those things that Stevens and his staff will look to clean up between now and their next game on Wednesday against Charlotte.