Celtics get defensive


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

Red Sox score 7 in 7th to beat Rangers 9-4

Red Sox score 7 in 7th to beat Rangers 9-4

BOSTON (AP)  Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more during Boston's seven-run seventh inning on Wednesday night and the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 for their third straight victory.

Chris Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season. He allowed three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings and received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than in any previous game this season.

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter. Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.