For the fourth year in a row, the Boston Celtics have jumped out to a sizzling start, winning 16 of their first 20 games and earning a spot atop the Eastern Conference. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not with Kendrick Perkins sidelined until after the All-Star break, Rasheed Wallace retired and no real backup point guard without Delonte West. The Celtics were supposed to be hurting, not surging.
The biggest difference-maker? Shaquille O'Neal.