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Nov 23, 2017
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A few things about the Boston Celtics' 16 consecutive victories this season, aside from the fact that they're doing this without Gordon Hayward:

-New acquisition Kyrie Irving is leading the team in scoring at 22.5 points per game
-Head coach Brad Stevens is pulling this off with only four holdovers—Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier—from his 2016-17 group that finished No. 1 in the conference
-Jayson Tatum is having an outstanding rookie year, averaging 13.9 pts and 5.8 rebounds, while Jaylen Brown is having a breakout sophomore campaign (16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg)

To sum up Boston's magnificent string of won games, which came at the expense of powerhouse squads like the Spurs and the Warriors: a) Irving made the right decision; b) Stevens is a master tactician; and (c) Trader Danny won again.

Before the Celtics stake their unbeaten stretch against the Miami Heat on Thursday, FHM looks back at the most memorable dominating NBA runs in recent memory. (Note: The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' 33 successive wins is still the gold standard.)


2014-15 Atlanta Hawks (19)

Spoilers: New Orleans Pelicans, 115-100

The "Spurs of the East" saw four of them—Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Kyle Korver—suit up in the All-Star Game (the latter replaced injured Dwyane Wade). Pop pupil Mike Budenholzer's unselfish system made DeMarre Carroll and Dennis Schroder look like bona fide stars. Like the Celtics last season, Atlanta (62-20) was good enough for top seed in the Eastern Conference, but clearly weren't better than the Cleveland Cavaliers, who swept the Hawks in the ECF.

2008-09 Boston Celtics (19)

Spoilers: Los Angeles Lakers, 92-83

Long before Kyrie and co. were wreaking havoc in the league, the mean, green machine over at Boston had different faces, notably Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. In just their second season together, the reigning champs were virtually unstoppable at the beginning of their title defense with a blistering 27-2 start. Unfortunately, an injury to Garnett prevented the Celtics from sustaining this run in the playoffs and surrended to runners-up Orlando Magic.

2015-16 Golden State Warriors (24)

Spoilers: Milwaukee Bucks, 108-95

Twenty eight, if you include Golden State's last four victories before the 2015 postseason. Still without Kevin Durant, the defending champions not only broke the Bulls record to make regular-season history, but also hit several team and individual milestones. The first-ever unanimous MVP (back-to-back), a couple more superstars, a dangerous bench mob, and the Coach of the Year may have something to do about that. We all know what happened in June, though...

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2013-14 Miami Heat (27)

Spoilers: Chicago Bulls, 110-103

The infamous Big Three of LeBron James, Wade, and Chris Bosh at the peak of its powers. Erik Spoelstra's postitionless basketball made the most of the talent surplus and trusty specialists (Chris Andersen, Shane Battier). Capturing their second championship in a row against the San Antonio Spurs, who were 30 seconds away from the title, made the Heatles' place in the record books even more special—thanks to Allen's clutch three, and the season and Finals MVP.

2007-08 Houston Rockets (22)

Spoilers: Boston Celtics, 94-74

Losing Yao Ming midway the streak didn't matter to Tracy McGrady and his headstrong teammates. Dikembe Mutombo filled in admirably for the Chinese skyscraper, Battier and Luis Scola were key pieces, while Rafer Alston and Bonzi Wells were still in the league. Of course, T-Mac was being T-Mac, as his squad's top scorer in 13 of the 22 games. Houston's feat is probably the most remarkable due to its unfavorable circumstances and their unheralded contributors.

 

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