Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

Comparing the Rockets' 16-game win streak to the Celtics'

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It’s time to appreciate how truly great the Houston Rockets are.

As the regular season nears completion, Houston remains a half-game ahead of the Warriors for first in the West, thanks to an impressive run of utter domination.

The Rockets’ 16-game winning streak – the second longest in the team’s history, only behind its 22-game win streak in 2008 – ties the Boston Celtics for the most consecutive wins this season. The question is, which streak is more impressive?

Since Jan. 28, Houston is taking 40.1 shots from three and 28.1 free throws per game – both being tops in the league. James Harden, individually, leads the league in both categories, averaging 10.5 3-point attempts and 10.1 free-throw attempts per game.

But it’s the consistency of the Rockets that should be truly terrifying for any other team in the Western Conference. They are 33-1 when Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela are all playing.

Over the past 16 games, Houston has been a top-three team on both offense and defense, putting together a net differential of 14.1. As for the Celtics, it was their work on the defensive end that carried them to victory, owning a defensive rating of 94.8.

Team Dates Off Rtg (rank) Def Rtg (rank) Net Rtg (rank)
Celtics 10/20/17 – 11/20/17 104.0 (18th) 94.8 (1st) 9.2 (1st)
Houston 01/28/18 – 03/06/18 117.3 (1st) 103.2 (3rd) 14.1 (1st)

As strange as it may seem, the Celtics actually struggled on offense over those 16 games. They averaged 103.3 points and shot just 43.2 percent from the field, both stats putting them in the lower half of the league.

However, Boston forced teams – including the Warriors and Toronto Raptors – to shoot 42.3 percent from the field. And only Marcus Morris possessed a defensive rating over 100.

But perhaps the most incredible aspect of that streak is that it started just three games into a season in which the Celtics only had four players return from the previous year.

Seven of Boston’s wins came against teams currently in the playoff picture, including two of the top-three teams in the Warriors and Raptors. Comparatively, the Rockets have beaten nine teams presently in the playoff hunt, with the last two coming against the Celtics and Thunder.

Boston’s streak was certainly impressive, as the Celtics repeatedly beat top-flight competition and did it on essentially only one side of the floor. But Houston has absolutely mauled everyone and has played brilliant basketball at both ends of the court.

The Rockets have now put together two separate winning streaks that amount to a 30-0 record, and they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. This team may be unstoppable as long as it can stay healthy.

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

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