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Lord, please. Is This the Year of the Boston Celtics?

The evidence is starting to overwhelm. It’s getting harder and harder to deny. The Celtics look like a title team—prepare yourself accordingly.

Ugh. Do you feel it? The walls are rattling. It isn’t noise, it’s the opposite. It’s these numbers, reverberating with an undeniable intensity to almost induce a sort of synesthesia. Numbers aren’t supposed to be able to do this, but they’re so loud you can feel them. Fifty-point win. Seventeen-point win. Fourteen-point win. Eighteen-point win. Twenty-eight-point win. Fifty-two-point win. Three wins of at least 40 points during an active 11-game winning streak. Two Viewpoint wins in the past six games. Three Pinpoint wins for the season, half the amount of such wins in franchise history. A plus-243 point differential over 11 games, the largest in NBA history.

I know. Your eyes have glazed over. They’re rolled far back, aimed at the far recesses of your brain. I get it. I feel it, too. That sound you’re hearing is the sound of your own nervous cackling—Jaylen Brown’s fifth 3-pointer with more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter of Sunday’s 140-88 dismantling of the Golden State Warriors is what did me in, personally. There is the laughter of joy—happy for you, Celtics fans—but more pointedly for the rest of us, there is the incredulous laughter of awe. The Boston Celtics have become basketball’s divine comedy. And this latest stretch of unprecedented production feels like a movement beyond Purgatorio toward Paradiso.

The Warriors have caught a ton of flak in the wake of Sunday’s blowout for leaving Brown open to start the game. Is it wrong to say there was a kernel of logic to the game plan? Brown is the worst catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter in the Celtics’ starting lineup at 34.7 percent on the season. Kristaps Porzingis is next-worst at 38.8 percent. Jayson Tatum, Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday all hit at least 40 percent of their spot-up 3s. (Actually, Holiday’s figure is closer to 50 percent.) Sorry, but what the fuck is that? Back in November, my colleague Michael Pina broke down the historic potential of Boston’s new starting lineup. “The talent is obvious, but just from the perspective of generating space, they might have no precedent,” he wrote. More than three months later, in the midst of a Celtics campaign that has easily produced the most efficient offense in NBA history, this has been more or less confirmed.

Golden State’s gambit cost it, but life is largely about trying to make the least bad decision and living with the consequences. Who could have expected that this loss would send Steph Curry into a nostalgia-laced existential tailspin? “When you have a creative idea and it doesn’t work and you’re taking the ball out of the basket and they’re hitting 10 3s in the first quarter—that’s what we used to do to teams,” Curry said. “It’s kind of demoralizing.”

Back when the Warriors first felt inevitable—now closing in on a decade—the spider charts of Golden State’s offensive and defensive concentration were distinct: A sharp spike would jut out to represent Curry, with Klay Thompson’s off-ball steadiness and Draymond Green’s playmaking instincts giving body to this polygonal narwhal. Inversely, on defense, Green served as the narwhal’s tusk. The Warriors’ generation-defining schemes were built on the genius of three players. Kevin Durant’s three-year stint leveled things out, forming broader shapes on the chart, but there were still relative weak points on each side of the ball. Try rendering these Celtics on a spider chart and it’d probably end up looking like this:

Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that after Boston’s 52-point win on Sunday, the 2023-24 Celtics (11.6) have overtaken the 2016-17 Warriors (11.4) in single-season net rating, according to The league’s publicly available statistical database tracks advanced stats dating back to 1996-97, when Michael Jordan’s Bulls boasted a net rating of 11.8. The Celtics have by far the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the league. Should things continue smoothly on course, they’ll eclipse that historic number, too.

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