Nylon Calculus

How long will the Boston Celtics’ win streak continue?


After a thrilling comeback victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics’ win streak now sits at 14. That’s a Celtics team missing arguably its best player. A Celtics team that has rookies playing over a quarter, 25.8 percent, of its total minutes. Accounting for playing time, the average player on this team has just 3.3 seasons of experience and is only 24.9 years old. The best team in the East right now is also the youngest team in the East, per Basketball-Reference.

This team has defied all expectations after Gordon Hayward went down. Nearly everyone, myself included, wrote off the rest of their year. Instead, the Celtics have become the 58th team ever to win 14 straight regular season games. After beating the Warriors, the question becomes how long they can keep this streak alive?

Evaluating the streak

To evaluate the streak and project forward, I am using my in-season game projection model. The model is trained off historical game data, and accounts for rest, travel, team strength, and matchup. Since I began using the model to predict outcomes, I have been able to correctly identify the winner in about 71 percent of games.

My model has the Celtics currently favored in each of their next 10 games, and 19 of their next 20.  The model is designed to be fluid and even non-Celtics games will impact the projection for each Celtics game. So while the exact number of games they are favorites in may change, the Boston Celtics have a very favorable schedule that could allow this streak to extend well past the 14 it sits at now.

My model gives the Celtics a 53.2 percent chance to beat both the Mavericks and Hawks to reach 16 straight wins, a feat only achieved by 28 teams in the NBA regular season. The Boston Celtics franchise records for wins in a row is 19, accomplished in the 2008-09 season. This year’s Celtics have a 17.1 percent chance to tie that record, and a 13.2 percent chance to reach 20 wins.

As for the all-time record of 33 wins, it is likely still too early to truly consider that a possibility. My model gives the Celtics only a 0.12 percent chance to accomplish 34 straight wins. However, the fact that it is non-zero is a testament as to how impressive the Boston Celtics have been so far this season.



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