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Random thoughts as Celtics go 8-in-a-row with 116-106 win over Mavericks

The Boston Celtics haven't lost a game since since dropping their season opener against the rival Philadelphia 76'ers. They have won 8-in-a-row and stand with an 8-1 record. Here are some thoughts on the game last night and the state of the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown has improved many facets of his game

Brown notched 25 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, while garnering three assists. He shot 9-of-16 from the field, 2-of-4 on treys and an acceptable 5-of-7 from the foul line. He is stronger, taking it to the hoop more, using his left hand to finish at the rim, handling the ball with much more control and showing a hesitation move that we hardly saw before. He is no longer simply a drive-and-dunk artist. He has become a better facilitator, and we hope his foul shooting continues to improve.



Marcus Smart has become a "smarter" player - more under control

The temper is still there, but the control of his emotions and his game have improved. Smart's defense is still intense and ferocious, but he has added a level of craftiness to his game this season. He remains a vital cog in the Celtics' system, and I would have hated to see him go elsewhere.



Jayson Tatum had a horrendous shooting night but contributed otherwise

Jayson was an absolutely horrid 1-of-18 from the field and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc, scoring a mere five points. Every NBA marksman has nights like this - no worries here. Tatum did take down eight rebounds and pass off for four assists, just verifying that he has become a complete player.

Daniel Theis will never be a star, but he is a solid NBA player

In the win, Theis scored 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field - grabbed five rebounds - and passed off for three assists. He also got one steal, one block and a team-high plus/minus of +27. Daniel sustained a finger injury in the contest but came back with the affliction only causing some minor discomfort. This Celtics team needs Daniel.

Kemba Walker was the right addition for Boston

Walker was missing some shots early but persevered, and his shots started to fall. He ended up with a team-high 29 points, shooting 53% on field goals and 57% on 3-pointers. He also picked up five rebounds and five assists. With Tatum not particularly shooting the Garden lights out, Kemba's scoring was much-needed for the win. Danny Ainge found the right replacement for Kyrie Irving.

Rob Williams has to learn not to try to block every shot

Luka Doncic was a monster for Dallas, pouring in 34 points and picking up six rebounds and nine assists. He was taking it right to the hoop, despite Rob's presence there - and succeeding. Bill Russell learned very early that trying to block every shot attempt leads to goal tends, fouls and poor positioning for defensive rebounds. Williams III will come to the same conclusion. Still, Robert is now being counted on by Brad Stevens to enter the game at critical junctures and contribute. Count me as a fan. I love this kid.

This team is firing on all cylinders

The Boston Celtics now have sole possession of first place in the NBA with an 8-1 record - having won their last eight games. Gordon Hayward out with an injury? Jayson Tatum with a horrendous shooting night? No sweat! This Celtics team is clicking.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook


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