Boston looks to record the best start in the franchise’s storied history on Saturday when it hosts the Wizards for the first time since the season opener.
Since blowing out the Wizards 103-83 at home Nov. 2, the Celtics (30-4) haven’t looked back. They are outscoring opponents by an average of 12.1 points, which would be the NBA’s largest differential since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls averaged 12.3 points more than their opponents en route to a league-record 72 wins.
Boston - with an .882 winning percentage - is currently on pace to match Chicago’s victory total from that season.
The 1959-60 Celtics also opened the season 30-4 en route to the franchise’s third NBA title.
Although Boston has breezed through most of the season, it has faced some adversity in its past two games. Following a 95-83 home loss to Charlotte on Wednesday, the Celtics trailed the Nets by five points after three quarters Friday at New Jersey.
Boston, though, outscored the Nets 23-9 - including 14 bench points - down the stretch en route to an 86-77 victory.
“We got down on the road and our starters needed some rest,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “The bench was able to dig it out and get us the win. Every game, we try to get our big guys rest because its a long season and were trying to give the bench more confidence.”
Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Nets, and is averaging 21.6 points over his last five games. He had 22 points and 20 rebounds - one of 28 career 20-20 games - in the Celtics’ win over the Wizards in November.
Washington (18-16) has won three of its last four, including a 102-98 overtime win at Atlanta on Friday. Antawn Jamison had 22 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for the Wizards, while Caron Butler added 21 points.
“It wasn’t pretty. You have to rely on your defense and your rebounding,” Jamison said. “We did everything possible to win on the road.”
Butler and Jamison are averaging 21.8 and 21.6 points, respectively, making them the highest-scoring duo in the conference. They and an improved defense have helped keep the Wizards above .500.
Washington is allowing 97.5 points per game in 2007-08, a vast improvement from the conference-high 104.9 they surrendered last season. The Wizards allowed more than 100 points eight times in their first 15 games, but have yielded 100 just four times in 19 games since.
Jamison is averaging 24.4 points in his career against the Celtics, but was held to 10 in the teams’ earlier meeting this season.
Washington had won six of seven games in the series prior to its loss on Nov. 2.