The Boston Celtics Have the NBA’s Best Record, but They May Have a Problem

Boston Celtics

Getty The Boston Celtics have dropped their last two games at home after a record-setting start.

Despite Saturday’s blowout loss at home suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics still boast the best record in the NBA. Their 35-11 mark is three games better than the Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, all who have 32-14 records.

While the Celtics have cruised for the better part of the 2023-24 season, their losses have to be somewhat concerning. They’ve tasted defeat just 11 times, but their record against the top teams in the league could be a problem.

The Boston Celtics Have Been Blown Out Twice Lately Against Elite Teams

On Thursday, January 11, the Celtics were embarrassed by the Bucks on the road, falling 135-102. Things got so bad that head coach Joe Mazzulla sat his starters for the entire second half after falling behind 75-38 at halftime.

Losses are going to happen to great teams. Bad losses, will happen, too. Most Celtics fans chalked this one up to being the second game of a back-to-back that saw the Celtics fly from Boston to Milwaukee after their grueling overtime victory over the Timberwolves. The Celtics simply didn’t have it that night, and it’s best to give their starters a break. Fair enough.

Less than two weeks later, however, the Celtics suffered the same fate, only this time it happened in front of their home crowd. The Clippers came to town and thumped Boston, winning 115-96 in a game that wasn’t even that close.

It’s certainly not panic time yet, but there’s some cause for concern. These Celtics don’t have the greatest history when it comes to thriving in big games. Yes, the Celtics beat the Bucks at home and cruised past the Clippers in LA earlier this season, but their record against the top teams in the league isn’t great.

Against the top six teams in the NBA this year, Boston is 5-6, losing to every team at least once. They do have a winning record against the Philadelphia 76ers at 2-1, but they haven’t beaten the defending champion Denver Nuggets and the Thunder. They split with Milwaukee, Minnesota, and the Clippers.

Celtics Move Ahead After Humbling Experience at Home

The Celtics had just come off an impressive three-game road trip where they finished 3-0, but the game against the Clippers on Saturday, January 27, isn’t exactly how Boston wanted to begin a seven-game homestand. The Celtics opened the season with a record-setting, 20-game win streak, but have lost their last two at TD Garden.

The Clippers dominated from start to finish, even though they were on the second leg of a back-to-back after winning the previous night on the road against the Toronto Raptors.

Celtics guard Jrue Holiday called it like he saw it.

“A good old-fashioned ass whooping,” Holiday told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston. “They did everything better — rebounding, transition, 50-50 ball. It seemed like they were a step ahead.

“It’s definitely humbling to come home and get your butt kicked, but we know that it’s a long season and we can learn from this and just kind of hold it in our back pocket. It’ll always be in the back of our head when we have a good game the day before.”

The panic button doesn’t need to be pushed just yet, but two straight losses at home and two blowout losses in two weeks is certainly cause for concern.

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