Celtics set franchise record with 19th straight winDec 24, 2008 - 4:56 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) -- The NBA's most legendary franchise has added another remarkable chapter to its long-running history.
Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each scored 18 points as the Boston Celtics set a new franchise record with their 19th straight win, a 110-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
"I'm not downplaying it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I know it's great and all that stuff. But we didn't get our hands in and say 'hip, hip hooray' or anything.
"You know what I mean? Nobody even mentioned it. So, we just want to keep playing, and we want to keep winning, and we want to try to keep getting better."
The Celtics, who surpassed the club mark set by the 1981-1982 team, now are 27-2, the best 29-game start in NBA history.
"If you don't win the championship, all that goes out the window," Garnett said. "If you don't win it at the end, then it's pretty much meaningless. Our ultimate goal is to win this thing again and get better as we go."
Andre Iguodala scored 14 for Philadelphia and agreed with Garnett's sentiments, adding that teams around the league are hoping the Celtics could be peaking early.
"I think teams would hope that, but 27-2, you can't knock that," Iguodala said. "It is what it is. They're playing good ball, no matter if they're peaking or not. They just won the title and I'm sure they want to play to perfection and just try to keep it going the whole way.
"Similar to the (New England) Patriots, they were undefeated and they lost in the (Super Bowl). I'm sure they're aware of that and want to keep it going the whole year."
Boston's next test is on Christmas Day in Los Angeles in an NBA Finals rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the all-time record with 33 straight wins in 1972 - the longest winning streak in the history of pro sports.
The sellout crowd chanted "Beat L.A." in the closing moments as Boston prepared for a red-eye, cross-country flight to Los Angeles.
"Yeah, that was nice," Rivers said of the cheer from the crowd. "That was really cool, yeah. Well, we are now, because that's our next opponent. They started and it was still a 14-point game with five minutes left.
"To me, I was like, 'Wait two or three more minutes, please.' And then, it was nice. Our crowd is a very smart basketball crowd, so they're looking forward to it."
Louis Williams and Marreese Speights scored 16 apiece for the 76ers, who showed early on they were not going to be intimidated by the streak or the record. Miller scored 10 in the opening quarter as the visitors led by as many as four.
But trailing, 22-18, Boston scored the next six points, taking the lead for good, 23-22, when Garnett sank an 18-foot straight-away jumper with 2:02 remaining in the first.
As they have many times in their historic run, the Celtics took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Sixers, 16-8, to open a 74-52 lead.
But unlike many teams, Philadelphia countered and drew to within 12 at 78-66 heading into the final quarter.
The Sixers could get no closer in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won their final contest before heading out on a four-game West Coast swing against the Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers.
Philadelphia lost its second straight after winning its first three under interim coach Tony DiLeo. Maurice Cheeks was Philadelphia's coach when the 76ers were blown out by the Celtics, 102-78, on November 28 - win No. 7 in the streak.
"I think we were in the game for a longer period of time," DiLeo said. "We stuck to what we wanted to do for a longer period of time and they just got out and got loose, and that was the main thing we tried to stop.
"I don't recall the last game we were up here, but I was proud of some of the things we tried to do. Against a team like Boston, you can't have letdowns. We had like a three or four minutes spurt of a letdown. Against a good team like this, you've got to play 48 minutes and we didn't tonight."
Andre Miller had 14 points and eight assists for the Sixers but didn't see enough improvement from his team since the last match-up with Boston.
"Not really, we still got blown out," he said. "We've got to figure out how to put halves and full games together."
Boston's only two losses are to Indiana on November 1 - the third game of the season - and to Denver at home on November 14.
The loss to the Nuggets was the last before the streak began at Milwaukee in overtime on November 15.
BOSTON 110 FINAL
Dec 23 10:03 PM
BOSTON 78 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 23 9:25 PM
BOSTON 58 HALFTIME
Dec 23 8:45 PM
BOSTON 29 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 23 8:07 PM
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