Celtics prove how high they can fly

For four quarters Sunday, the Celtics broke the glass ceiling of expectations. 

For one stretch, bridging the final minutes of the first quarter and the opening minutes of the second, they came within an eyelash of basketball perfection. They outscored Golden State 25-1, turning a game into a clinic.

They rebounded, they shot 3’s, and prospered in the paint. The Warriors’ single point in that run  came off an illegal-defense technical.

Jaylen Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Celtics leading, 44-22.

Jayson Tatum scored 19 points in the second quarter, which ended with the Celtics leading, 82-38.

Garbage time came amazingly early, but Payton Pritchard led the benchwarmers while bringing the final spread to 52 points.

Final score: Boston 140, Golden State 88.

In practical terms, the game meant no more than a one-point win over anyone, and the magnitude of the blowout meant less. The Celtics have the best record in the league, 48-12, and it would require an epic collapse for that to change.

In impractical terms, it was stunning to watch.

The 2024 Warriors are a shadow of the dynasty Warriors. Steph Curry nursed a bum knee and was listed as questionable. He played 17 minutes, scored four points and called it a day.

It also must be noted that the Warriors were finishing off a four-game East Coast trip.

Feel free to add any other disclaimers.

But the face of the franchise and its coach recognized a familiar exclamation point.

“That was what we used to do to teams,” Curry said.

“I think it’s just a matter of time that they break through,” Steve Kerr said. “This is, I think, the best version of this team that I’ve seen.”

Sunday affirmed how well the Celtics can play when at their best.

It wasn’t a prediction.