The NBA’s best team is playing like the NBA’s most dangerous team and the best team in the NBA is playing as if it has lost two games in a row.
And the Celtics might be doing just that.
After a dominant performance in Saturday’s 106-98 win over the Warriors, the Celtics were on a roll, going up 14 points at the half and finishing with a team-high 21 points.
It was their second-highest total in a half this season, and they are averaging a league-high 28.3 points on 53.5 percent shooting.
Boston has gone on a 13-game winning streak, including a seven-game run to close out the season.
The Celtics are the only team to have won 13 straight games since the 2010-11 season, a streak that lasted through December.
“I don’t know why they would say, ‘We’re not playing good defense anymore,’ ” said guard Brandon Bass, who has been a dominant force in the post for the Celtics this season.
“They’re just playing better defense, which means they’re going to win more games.”
The Celtics are in a position to improve on the league-worst record of 8-14.
They were 4-9 in their last six games before winning their next two.
But the Warriors are coming off their best game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers, which saw the Warriors score 104 points in the final 2:12.
“It’s definitely a good time to be a Celtic,” said guard Kelly Olynyk, who had 15 points.
“This is the time to really start winning games.
We’re going in the right direction.
We just have to keep pushing.
We have to find ways to win.
The playoffs are long.
You just have have to be patient.”
The Warriors (9-22) are tied for the NBA lead in defensive rating (104.8), which ranks last in the league.
The Warriors have allowed 108.7 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting over their last three.
Boston is averaging 105.3 in the last three, a league high.
Boston leads the league in total defense (103.1), rebounds (8.7), field goal percentage (52.5) and assist percentage (10.4).
The Celtics also have the NBA leader in steals (10), assists (12) and steals (8).
The Celtics have lost four straight against Golden State, including three straight since the start of February.
They lost by 21 points in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs last year in the series.
The Warriors shot 45.8 percent and shot 39.3 percent from the field in the first quarter, including 16 of 21 from 3-point range.
They shot 38.6 percent from behind the arc and made 12 of 25 3s.
The Celtics led by as many as 17 points in regulation before trailing by as much as 14.
In the fourth quarter, Boston held the Warriors to just 18 points and only made six of 11 3s in the quarter.
Boston’s next three games are against teams that are also among the league leaders in points per possession (105.2), points per 100 possessions (101.8) and points per second (11.6).
The Cavaliers (96.9), 76ers (94.3) and Lakers (94%) also rank among the top five in points scored per 100 minutes (99.9).