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Irish Coffee: Celtics going streaking!

12.15.10 at 1:20 pm ET

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

It’s the year of the streak. The 2010-11 NBA season has already seen three teams pile up double-digit win streaks, and four others have won at least eight straight.

Four of those streaks have been snapped, and one more will end on Wednesday night, as the Celtics (winners of 10 straight) visit the Knicks (winners of eight straight). The Heat also put their nine-game win streak on the line Wednesday when they host the Cavaliers.

Just for fun, let’s rank those seven streaks in terms of level of difficulty, and then compare them to the 1971-72 Lakers’ all-time record of 33 consecutive victories:


  • Streak: 12 games (snapped by Bucks, 103-99, on Dec. 13)
  • Opponents’ win %: .505 (151-148)
  • Opponents above .500: 6
  • Average margin of victory: 8.3 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 5
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 6
  • Observation: This was truly remarkable, considering it included wins over the Thunder, Spurs, Heat and Jazz (twice).


  • Streak: 12 games (snapped by Mavericks, 103-94, on Nov. 26)
  • Opponents’ win %: .437 (128-165)
  • Opponents above .500: 4
  • Average margin of victory: 9.5 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 5
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 6
  • Observation: The fact that their streak was snapped by the Mavs makes the Dallas run that much more impressive.


  • Streak: 9 games (ongoing)
  • Opponents’ win %: .425 (93-126)
  • Opponents above .500: 3
  • Average margin of victory: 17.1 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 9
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 4
  • Observation: Not only have the Heat been winning, they’ve been blowing people out — even without Udonis Haslem.


  • Streak: 10 games (ongoing)
  • Opponents’ win %: .425 (104-141)
  • Opponents above .500: 3
  • Average margin of victory: 14.6 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 6
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 6
  • Observation: Not so impressive, considering they beat the Nuggets without Carmelo Anthony and Bulls without Carlos Boozer.


  • Streak: 8 games (snapped by Mavericks, 98-95, on Nov. 13)
  • Opponents’ win %: .518 (100-93)
  • Opponents above .500: 3
  • Average margin of victory: 9.4 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 2
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 6
  • Observation: How do they win eight straight against teams with a combined plus-.500 record and 11-of-12 to start the season, and then lose 9-of-12?


  • Streak: 8 games (ongoing)
  • Opponents’ win %: .371 (73-124)
  • Opponents above .500: 2
  • Average margin of victory: 8.1 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 2
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 1
  • Observation: The two good teams they’ve beaten in this stretch — the Hornets and Nuggets — are a combined 5-12 in their last 17 games.


  • Streak: 8 games (snapped by Nuggets, 118-112, on Nov. 11)
  • Opponents’ win %: .376 (73-121)
  • Opponents above .500: 0
  • Average margin of victory: 12.5 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 4
  • 2009-10 playoff teams beaten: 2
  • Observation: Wow, this isn’t nearly as impressive as I thought when they started 8-0; I mean, no teams above .500? Joe Smith to the rescue!

I probably should’ve predicted that people would jump right back on the Heat bandwagon as soon as they started stringing together a few wins. Exhibit A: slots the Heat at No. 3 on its Power Rankings — ahead of the Celtics, who have a better record, a longer win streak and two head-to-head wins.

Exhibit B:’s Sekou Smith, who makes a ridiculous prediction:

The Miami Heat just might be the best team in the NBA right now. They certainly aren’€™t doing anything to hurt their cause. They continue to steamroll the competition in ways that didn’t seem possible just three weeks ago, when many people were questioning their union of superstars. …

We know it’s taboo to look too far ahead, but the way this Heat team is playing right now they could run off a string of wins that challenges the 1971-72 Lakers’ NBA record 33-game streak.

Really? You’re making that leap? Here’s a few of the teams the Heat would have to beat over their next 24 games: The Knicks (3 times), Magic (twice), Mavericks, Lakers, Hawks, Blazers, Nuggets, Bulls and Thunder. Easy, right? Not for a team that was 9-8 before they started their current nine-game winning streak.

By the way, here’s a breakdown of the 33-game win streak by the 1971-72 Lakers:


  • Streak: 33 games (snapped by Bucks, 120-104, on Jan. 9)
  • Opponents’ win %: .475 (1,285-1,421)
  • Opponents above .500: 15
  • Average margin of victory: 16.0 points
  • Number of 10-point victories: 21
  • 1970-71 playoff teams beaten: 13
  • Observation: Yeah, so this was pretty tough, and there’s no way the Heat come even close.


SLAM Magazine put together a nice feature on Kevin Garnett, picking up on what everybody who has watched the Celtics on a nightly basis knew already: A healthy Garnett is a dangerous Garnett. A couple of interesting nuggets:

  • Shaquille O’Neal on KG: “I’m on the last two steps, and he’s probably three steps above me goin’ out the door. Know what I’m sayin’? We know this time is special, and we’re gonna take advantage of it, and do what we can to fulfill what needs to be fulfilled.”
  • Interesting KG statistic: His 41,694 regular-season minutes played heading into this season placed him ahead of Shaquille O’€™Neal, Bill Russell and even Michael Jordan on the all-time list.
  • Tommy Heinsohn on retiring KG’s number: “When guys are responsible for championships, they normally go up on the flag. So I would expect he’d be there, too.” I stammer out a protest, that KG hasn’t been a Celtic that long, but Heinsohn parries that effortlessly: “Yeah, but titles are important, and he was an integral part, an important part of that team.”

CELTICS-KNICKS HISTORY LESSON’s Peter May provided a history lesson for people who weren’t around the last time a Celtics game against the Knicks meant something. Here’s a synopsis of the piece in timeline format:

  • 1969: “The teams met in the second round of the playoffs, with the Celtics upsetting the favored Knicks in six games. Boston went on to win its last title of the Russell era (and 11th in 13 years).”
  • 1970: “The Knicks displaced them as NBA champs the following year, buoyed by Willis Reed‘s heroics in the Finals against the Lakers.”
  • 1972: “The Knicks beat the Celtics in five games in the conference finals, although they lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.”
  • 1973: “The Knicks again eliminated the Celtics in the conference finals, a series most Celtics fans mark with an asterisk because John Havlicek got hurt. The Knicks became the first team to win a Game 7 in Boston that year and won their second title in four years.”
  • 1984: “The teams met for a great, seven-game series in the second round. Bernard King was at his gunslinger best, and Cedric Maxwell, forced to defend the unstoppable King, defiantly predicted, “No way that [blank] is going to get 50 on me.” King did. But the Celtics prevailed as the home team won all seven games.”
  • December 25, 1985: The Celtics “blew a 25-point third-quarter lead and lost in double-overtime to a bad Knicks team. That proved to be a turning point for the 1985-86 team, which would steamroll the rest of the way to an NBA title.”
  • 1988: “The Celtics then won in four games in a first-round series (highlighted by news during the series that KC Jones would step down after the playoffs).”
  • May 6, 1990: “The Knicks won Game 5 of their first-round playoff series, rallying from a 2-0 hole to do so. They won the deciding game in Boston, snapping a hellish losing streak to the Celtics, in a contest that was marked by Larry Bird missing a crucial dunk and coach Jimmy Rodgers getting fired soon thereafter.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA, New York Knicks
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