On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics headed south to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Hawks, a team that was 9-5 and boasted one of the best and most explosive backcourts in the NBA.
Instead, it was the Celtics who did so by plucking the Hawks, 126-101.
Boston now has a 12-3 record, which is the best record in the NBA, and is half a game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Is it fair to call the defending Eastern Conference champs the best team in the conference, or is such talk premature?
Boston’s Win Was Impressive
But they had seven men who scored at least 14 points, and they shot a sizzling 45.7 percent from 3-point range while passing out 29 assists.
fake it. dish it.
fake it. make it. pic.twitter.com/ADbu6rYTfL
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 17, 2022
Defensively, Boston was also impressive, harassing the Hawks into shooting just 41.6 percent overall and 21.9 percent from beyond the arc.
There Is One Team That Is A Worthy Challenger
As always, the Bucks seem to be flying a bit under the radar, as they’re shorthanded themselves and not receiving much hype.
Last season, the Celtics had to huff and puff to eliminate a Milwaukee team that was without Middleton in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a series that went the distance.
Milwaukee has a little more overall firepower than Boston, as well as more reliable contributors off the bench, and it won the NBA championship just 16 months ago, while this group of Celtics hasn’t won it all.
In the end, one has to slightly favor a healthy Bucks team over a healthy Celtics team until proven otherwise.