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The Celtics' offense has been historic, and the team's defense is starting to catch up

BOSTON -- The Celtics offense has been historically good to start the season, and has been the talk of the NBA. Not only are they scoring more than anyone else this season, but they're more efficient than any other team to ever play the game of basketball.

It's been pretty silly to watch the Celtics casually flirt with 70 points by halftime every night. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are dropping 30 points (or more) with ease, and Boston's incredible spacing and ball movement is getting everyone involved in the scoring process. It's led to an incredible 119.9 offensive rating for the C's, tops in the league. That, in turn, has led to their 21-5 record, which is also tops in the league.

The offensive success is easy to see. And for a large stretch after the season tipped off, it masked some deficiencies on defense. The Celtics were winning offensive track meets with teams, so the defense being less than stellar wasn't a big deal. It also takes a lot of energy to play defense, and the Celtics learned an important lesson about conserving themselves last season, when they were running on empty by the time they reached the NBA Finals.

Over the last 10 games, however, the Boston defense has been nearly as good as the team's offense. In the latest Efficiency Landscape update from Kirk Goldsberry, the Celtics are nearly jumping off the page thanks to their massive improvement on the defensive end. Boston has been the fourth-most efficient defense in the NBA over the last 10 games.

That's a terrifying image for the rest of the league, considering Robert Williams has yet to take the floor for the Celtics this season. Once his game-changing presence returns, which should come in the next few weeks, things could get really scary for anyone going up against the Celtics. 

The Celtics are 8-2 over their last 10 games, and have held two of their last three opponents under 100. Those two were the Brooklyn Nets (held to a season-low 92 points on Sunday) and the Phoenix Suns (just 98 points on Thursday night). The Suns are the best team in the Western Conference, and are tied for the second-best offensive rating at 116.3. The Celtics made them look like an incompetent G League team on Wednesday night.

The Celtics have played great basketball all season, but they're playing their best all-around ball at the moment. Fittingly, it comes as the team prepares for a Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. 

With things ramping up on the defensive end, the Celtics are back to being a top 10 defense in the league, ranking ninth in Defensive Efficiency at 110.8. Their net rating of 9.2 is obviously the best in the league, 2.3 points higher than the second-pace New Orleans Pelicans.

The goal is to win a title this year, and the Celtics are a long way from getting to that point. They've acknowledged that much, and understand that all this regular season dominance will mean nothing without a banner to show for it.

But this offensive start is nothing to scoff at. The defense's emergence has been nothing short of impressive as well, with all of it coming without Robert Williams touching the court and blocking at least a couple of shots per game, not to mention the shot-changing ability that he brings when bouncing around the paint. 

When he finally returns, the Celtics should wreak even more havoc on the NBA record books.

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