Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

There are blowouts and there are blowouts, but the Celtics blowout of the Indiana Pacers last night probably belongs in its own category.

In obliterating the Pacers, the Celtics posted the second-highest point total in franchise history behind only a 173-point outburst against the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958-59. As a team, the Celtics 56.8 overall, 57.1 percent from 3-point distance, 56.6 on 2-pointers and 96.4 percent from the free-throw line (27-of-28). TheĀ  team finished with eight scorers and had only player who finished with 20 points or greater (Jayson Tatum, 30).

By quarter, the Celtics’ totaled 44, 31, 34 and 46 points. Their running totals through those checkpoints were 44, 75, 109 and 155.

So how good is this team? Obviously, it’s very good. We knew that coming into the season, though a Celtics blowout like last night’s tends to open eyes everywhere. But using games like this is a mistake for lots of reasons, not the list of which is the opponent on any given night. That hardly means the Pacers entirely stink, though they do 35-47 last season. Still, reaching 155 points in NBA requires the losing team to be complicit, and the Pacers played “defense” last night like they didn’t understand the concept of competitive team sports.

Anyway, there are a few significant takeaways from the first four games of this Celtics season, some of which we’ll touch on here.

  • 155 points in 155 seconds

    If you missed the game, no worries. You really didn’t to watch beyond the first quarter. Through the wonder of modern technology, we were able to stitch together all but one Celtics field goal in the video below. Once edited, we sped up the whole thing so that you could effectively see the 155 points in 155 seconds, excluding the one missing field goal and the 27 free throws converted.

  • Jayson Tatum is otherworldly right now

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 01: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden on November 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 01: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden on November 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    If four games so far this season, Tatum is shooting 56.3 percent overall, 40.7 percent from 3-point distance, 66.7 percent on 2-pointers and 80 percent from the free-throw line. He’s averaging 29.8 points, 9.3 rebounds (a career high) and four assists. Turnovers remain a constant work in progress for both Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but it’s hard to be more efficient than he has been thus far.

  • The Celtics have been hard to shoot against

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 01: T.J. McConnell #9 of the Indiana Pacers takes a shot with pressure from Kristaps Porzingis #8, Oshae Brissett #12, and Jrue Holiday #4 of the Boston Celtics during the second quarter at TD Garden on November 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 01: T.J. McConnell #9 of the Indiana Pacers takes a shot with pressure from Kristaps Porzingis #8, Oshae Brissett #12, and Jrue Holiday #4 of the Boston Celtics during the second quarter at TD Garden on November 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Look, when it comes to defense, we often focus on the stats – steals and blocks, in particular. But at the end of the day, the simplest goal of defense is this: can you force the opponent into a bad or difficult shot? Currently, the Celtics have held opponents to the fourth-lowest shooting percentage in the NBA. Boston also has allowed, on average, the fifth-fewest points per game in the paint.

    Why is this important? With the departures of Marcus, Smart, Grant Williams and Robert Williams, there was much concern about the impact on the Celtics’ defense. So far, both Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have filled the gap and more, particularly inside the 3-point line.

    One note: Early on, the New York Knicks and Miami Heat torched the Celtics from 3-point distance. Keep an eye on that. Better performances in the last two games have made the Celtics 10th best in the league defending the 3-point line, but it’s worth watching.

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