The Celtics continue to improve by leaps and bounds in the ESPN.com NBA Power Rankings. This week Boston vaults four more spots to land at No. 11 (there was a time recently they were in the back third of the league). The Celtics are now fifth in the East (though it's slightly daunting to see the Heat, Bulls, Pacers, and 76ers in the top four spots of a conference that's supposedly weak -- or at least top heavy).
Writes curator Marc Stein, "The Celts are on a 7-1 surge, having held the opposition to 81 points per game in that run and would have swept all eight had they finished off the Cavs at home. Paul Pierce, meanwhile, is about to pass Larry Legend as the second-leading scorer in team history. So why the glum faces, Bostonians?"
Super Bowl jabs aside, it has to be encouraging for Celtics fans to see their team climbing so fast after all the suggestions to blow it up last month.