The Celtics aren't playing their best basketball as they head toward the playoffs that are a week away.
But opponents aren't taking anything for granted with this team.
"You look at their record, you look at what they've done... the core of the team is still intact," said Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant in Boston the last three years. "The new guys will catch up quickly. That team has great veteran leadership, extremely well coached -- they're a terrific team."
The Chicago leader saw the Celtics go 27-27 down the stretch last season and still make it to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
"They still have a good record since they made the trade," he said. "That's what I think people are losing sight of.
"They got off to a great start. You have to look at the full season. You can't just look at a few games or 10 games or 15 games or whatever it might be. You look at the whole season."
Thibodeau also has a good grasp of the Celtic roster and what it can do.
"They still can put out Rajon (Rondo) at the point, Ray (Allen) at the 2, Paul (Pierce) at the 3, Kevin (Garnett) at the 4 and Baby (Glen Davis) at the 5," he said. "That's still the core of their team.
"And then now you look at the bench guys that they've added, and (Nenad) Krstic's a starter, (Jeff) Green's a starter, Delonte West has been a starter. They have great depth. They can shoot the ball, they're terrific defensively and they've been in a lot of tight situations so the team knows how to execute under pressure."
CELTICS 104, WIZARDS 88: The Celtics pulled away from a close contest Friday night in Boston to keep pace with Miami in the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards got within four on a Jordan Crawford lay-up with 7:04 left, but they scored just two more points before John Wall hit a meaningless trey at the buzzer. Paul Pierce had eight of his 22 points down the stretch as the Celtics made their stand.
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