The Boston Celtics are back. Well, kind of. They’re good again. Really good. Some people believed their progress was a result of beating weaker teams, a flawed line of thinking. 

The truth is, their progress is real. They are playing some of the best basketball seen in Boston, in years.

“We had a really good February, could have been better obviously, but in March the competition stepped up,” coach Ime Udoka said. “The level of teams we’re playing against has increased.”

The belief going into March was that the Boston Celtics would falter against a more difficult NBA schedule. What they did however proved their mettle and offered more evidence to the contrary. After seven games in March, they appear to be doing just that.

The Celtics are 6-1 in the month of March and have outscored their opponents by 72 combined points. During this stretch, which has seen them come up against six teams headed to the postseason, they have been very good. They have posted a 10.8 net rating with a defensive efficiency that would rank in the top five over the full season. 

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The Defensive Consistency 

The Celtics’ defense has dealt brilliantly with all types of star players and different profiles. From having to step out to guard Trae Young to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s isolation brilliance. They also had to deal with Luka Dončić and then defend the Warriors outside shooting. This is a Celtics defense that has been criticized a lot in recent seasons for being unable to get stops when it mattered most.

“We’ve been looking for a while now, honestly, how tight it is in the East. And then coming out of All-Star break with only 22 games to go, you understand the importance of every game.”

They have won 17 of their past 20 games. They opened this month by holding Hawks’ offense to 33 second-half points. Despite struggling to cope with a monster Durant performance in their following game, they still prevailed over Brooklyn thanks to Tatum. Even with a busier schedule, they have maintained a high level of consistency. They certainly will be a force to be reckoned with when the playoffs come around.