Quick Thoughts

1.    Celtic Soar:  While I remain skeptical that the Celtics are one of the best teams of All-Time, their first 22 games certainly support the proposition that they have a shot at entering the conversation.  At 20-2 and a ridiculous +14.2 point differential per game, the Celts look pretty good.  Yes there are still some tests left, the Celts haven’t had a West Coast swing yet and have a pretty easy schedule but 20-2?  How unprecedented is that kind of start?  Let’s take a look at the 22 game starts of some other great teams: 

2006-07 Mavericks, 15-7 (finished 67-15)

-2005-06 Pistons, 19-3 (finished 64-18)

2004-05 Suns, 19-3 (finished 62-20)

2003-04 Lakers, 18-4 (finished 56-26)

-1999-00 Lakers, 17-5 (finished 67-15)

-1996-97 Rockets, 20-2 (finished 57-25)

-1996-97 Bulls, 19-3 (finished 69-13)

-1995-96 Bulls, 20-2 (finished 72-10)

-1993-94 Rockets, 21-1 (finished 58-24)

-1993-94 Sonics 20-2 (finished 63-19)

-1991-92 Bulls, 18-4 (finished 67-15)

-1990-91 Blazers, 20-2 (finished 63-19)

-1986-87 Lakers, 17-5 (finished 65-17)

-1985-86 Celtics, 19-3 (finished 67-15)

-1982-83 76ers, 18-4 (finished 65-17)

-1972-73 Celtics, 19-3 (finished 68-14)

-1971-72 Lakers, 19-3 (finished 69-13)

1970-71 Bucks, 19-3 (finished 66-16)

-1966-67 76ers, 20-2 (finished 68-13)

This is a somewhat random sampling of team but it shows that a 20-2 start is rare but not exactly unprecedented.  In addition, 20-2 is not a free pass to 70 wins, though it sure ain’t a bad start.  The Celts’ hot start also jives with that of 2003-04 Lakers and the 1996-97 Rockets, who both had acquired All-Star vets who jelled very quickly.  Because of injuries and lack of depth both the Lakers and the Rockets couldn’t sustain their hot starts, finishing 38-22 and 37-23 respectively. 

So what does 20-2 guarantee Boston?   Probably, homecourt in the Eastern Conference Playoffs but they still have some time to go for some of the other goals. 

2.    NCAA Records:    Recently, David Arseneault of Grinnell put up 34 assists in a 151-112 win over North Central University of Minnesota.  The back story  on the record game is that the team’s coach, David Aresneault (yes, that’s Arseneault’s father), plays the old Paul Westhead Loyola Marymount style of full court press all game and takes tons of threes (over 50 per game).  What’s more, the team rotated players in and out in five man units.  The younger Arseneault had 14 assists at the half and they left him in to see what he could make of it, which was quite a bit.  Areseneault’s record, while quite impressive, is the Division III mark.  I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the Division I single game marks on the books: 

-Points: Frank Selvy, Furman, 100 points on 2/13/04.  Selvy was the high scorer for a running Furman team int he 1950s and the 100-point game was a well-publicized event at the time.  According to a 2004 USA Today interview with Selvy, the plan was to give Selvy as many shots as possible, and he got a ton (41-66 from the field and 18-22 from the line).  The 99th and 100th points were reportedly via a half court shot at the buzzer.  Selvy was drafted first overall in the 1954 draft by the Baltimore Bullets.  After scoring 19 ppg as a rookie, Selvy bounced around and was a decent journeyman for ten years, mostly with the Lakers.  He is best remembered for missing the potential game winning jumper at the buzzer against the Celtics in Game 7 of the 1961-62 Finals, which was, perhaps, the Lakers best shot to beat Bill Russell in their pre-Wilt Chamberlain days. 

As a footnote, Selvy’s game was against tiny Newberry college.  The most points scored against a Division I opponent was Kevin Bradshaw’s 72 against the aforementioned Loyola Marymount in 1991.  Bradshaw was a 24-year old Navy vet and college player for U.S. International, a college that had already declared bankruptcy in 1990.  Bradshaw ended up playing in Europe and Israel through 2003 but never got into an NBA regular season game.

Three Pointers: Keith Veney, Marshall, 15 three pointers on 12/14/96:  Veney shot 15-25 in the game against Morehead State.  After a stint in Europe, he now works as an NBA Rep for Nike.  

Rebounds:  Bill Chambers, William & Mary, 51 rebounds on 2/14/53:  I don’t know too much about Chambers but his ridiculous 51 boards against Virginia is pretty much an unbreakable record at this point.  According to his bio, Chambers was cut in training camp by the Lakers and immediately went to coach high school ball and then at William & Mary for several years before.  Since 1973, the rebounding record belongs to Larry Abney of Fresno State, who grabbed 35 boards against SMU in 2000.  Abney played in the NBDL in 2002-03 and didn’t stand out.  He is currently playing professionally in Australia. 

Assists:  Tony Fairley, Charleston Southern, 22 assists on 2/9/87, later tied by Avery Johnson, Southern University on 1/25/88 and Sherman Douglas, Syracuse on 1/28/89.  Avery and Sherman are pretty well known pros.  Fairley had a pretty unspectacular college career, bouncing from Miami-Dade to Hawaii, to Charleston Souther (also known as Baptist).  He maxed out at 12.6 ppg and 9.6 apg in 1986-87.  The only pro records I could find of Fairley was his being cut from the expansion Heat in the 1988 training camp.  

Blocked Shots:  David Robinson, Navy, 14 blocks on 1/4/86, later tied by Shawn Bradley, BYU on 12/7/90, Roy Rogers, Alabama on 2/10/96, and Loren Woods, Arizona on 2/3/00.  No real surprise here.  All four players were pros (of varying degrees of success). 

Steals:  Mookie Blaylock, Oklahoma, 13 steals on 12/17/87 and 12/17/88.  Mookie was truly a steals machine.  This translated quite well to the pros, where Blalock averaged at least two steals per game each season that he played over 26 minutes per game, which were 11 of his13 pro seasons.  Another odd Mookie note is that Basketball-Reference found one of his most similar comps is Kenny Anderson, the man who got Mookie traded from New Jersey.

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