The Celtics emerge from the All-Star break with a perfect 16-0 record against the Western Conference, the supposed class of the NBA.
That record will be put to the test starting tonight on the C's annual post-break western sojourn. They will play five games (at Denver, Golden State, Phoenix, Portland and the LA Clippers) in just seven days.
So far, the schedule has been kind: 11 of the 16 games vs. western teams have been at home. But the C's swept a tough four-games-in-five-nights western swing in late December.
Despite beating the defending champion Spurs on Feb. 10, the Celts still haven't faced the current top two teams in the conference: Southwest-leading New Orleans (36-15) and Pacific-leading Phoenix (37-16). The combined winning percentage of the Western Conference teams they've faced so far is .504.
Here's a recap of their 16-0 start:
Nov. 7 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 119, Nuggets 93
Skinny: C's shoot 72 percent in first half; Paul Pierce leads way with 26 points; Allen Iverson held to 22.
Nov. 21 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 105, Warriors 82
Skinny: Bounce back from season's first loss; Kevin Garnett and Pierce both have double-doubles.
Nov. 23 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 107, Lakers 94
Skinny: Rivalry's rekindled: Kobe Bryant gets 28, but Kendrick Perkins has 21 points, 9 boards
Dec. 12 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 90, Kings 78
Skinny: C's improve to 18-2; Glen ``Big Baby'' Davis goes for 16 points, nine boards in first start.
Dec. 26 at Sacramento
Celtics 89, Kings 69
Skinny: C's use 33-5 second-quarter run to open trip in style.
Dec. 27 at Seattle
Celtics 104, Sonics 96
Skinny: It's Ray Allen's homecoming, but Pierce steals show with 37 points.
Dec. 29 at Utah
Celtics 104, Jazz 98
Skinny: Pierce has 24 points and six rebounds - all in second half; C's eclipse last season's win total.
Dec. 30 at LA Lakers
Celtics 110, Lakers 91
Skinny: Big Three combine for 74 points to end trip with a flourish.
Jan. 2 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 97, Rockets 93
Skinny: Garnett scores 11 of 26 points in last 7 minutes; Yao Ming gets 19 points, 13 rebounds.
Jan. 4 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 100, Grizzlies 96
Skinny: Tony Allen sparkles off bench with 20 points as C's don't look ahead to big Detroit rematch.
Jan. 16 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 100, Blazers 90
Skinny: Ray Allen pours in season-high 35 points as C's snap two-game home skid.
Jan. 25 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 87, Timberwolves 86
Skinny: Garnett KO'd with abdominal strain, but returns for game-saving steal vs. former team.
Jan. 31 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 96, Mavericks 90
Skinny: Dirk Nowtizki has 31 points and 11 boards, but Rajon Rondo beats him for late rebound, then hits winner.
Feb. 6 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 111, LA Clippers 100
Skinny: Pierce ailing, Garnett out, but Rondo saves day with 24 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and one bloody nose.
Feb. 8 at Minnesota
Celtics 88, Timberwolves 86
Skinny: Garnett spends homecoming on bench; Leon Powe's put-back at buzzer wins it.
Feb. 10 at TD Banknorth Garden
Celtics 98, Spurs 90
Skinny: Big Baby stands tall vs. Tim Duncan (22 points, 14 boards); Pierce in groove with 35 points.