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There’s just something about Boston…

Essentials

  • Teams: Boston Celtics (20-19) at Detroit Pistons (14-25)
  • Date: January 20, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Boston Celtics recently had a six-game losing streak come to an end when they were defeated at home by the New Orleans Hornets. Doc Rivers and company followed that setback with another home defeat, this time to the rival Chicago Bulls on Friday night, in a game full of playoff intensity.

The Celtics still have a solid big three in Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett that make things easier on the offense and the defense as the team’s resident stars and leaders, but the team’s record suggests that they haven’t done enough.

This explains why Boston acquired Courtney Lee and Jason Terry to help shore up the perimeter defense, but more importantly to help the team score.

Their shooting was expected to be a welcomed addition as both players would play off the talents of the big three. And to their credit, both have done their jobs in terms of spacing the court particularly from the corners, where Terry converts 41 percent of his corner 3-point shots and Lee hits 37 percent from the same spot per StatsCube.

And yet, Boston is in the bottom third in offensive efficiency this season.

The reason is simple: they are a jump shooting team.

Shooters surround Pierce, Garnett and Rondo, but they are as well relegated to the perimeter. Doc Rivers runs excellent sets to free up his players, but ultimately, he is at the mercy of his team’s ability to convert jumpers given that his team just cannot make it to the rim for easy baskets. Indeed, Hoopdata tells us that only eight teams in the league manufacture fewer shots directly at the rim than the Celtics.

Nonetheless, Garnett and company are hovering over a .500 record because they own the eighth best defensive efficiency in the league.

KG is a terrific individual and team defender that covers up a lot of what opposing teams do be it in the pick-and-roll or their regular sets. His intellect allows him to understand where to direct ball handlers when jumping out at them while his quickness permits him to quickly get back to rotating to his man all the while protecting the paint. His age obviously makes it difficult for him to consistently be excellent defensively, thus Rivers finds ways to manage his minutes without keeping him on the bench too long.

The Celtics also recently received a boost when Avery Bradley returned to the lineup eight games ago. He may just be the peskiest defender in the league, eerily reminiscent of Lindsey Hunter because of his ability to pick up defenders full court and stay with them. He is simply unshakable.

When Bradley is on the court, he typically covers opposing point guards to make life difficult for them while Rondo — if on the court with him — will defend the shooting guard depending on the matchups. Despite recently returning from injury, Avery Bradley has been terrific at hounding players with full-court pressure and has to be run through multiple screens in the half-court to allow his man to get free, and even then there’s no guarantee.

NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that Bradley and Garnett have played 138 minutes together so far this season, and in their time on the court, the Celtics surrender 92.4 points per 48 minutes on 44.1 percent field goal shooting. It goes without saying that the Pistons will have some issues as it pertains to scoring against Boston tonight when both players are on the floor, and the game may even look ugly at times, but ultimately, it should be a close contest that gets decided late.

Read about the Celtics

Celtics Hub.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

20 Comments

  • Jan 20, 20136:07 pm
    by Cjh42

    Reply

    Let’s see if the Moose can keep it up against Boston.

  • Jan 20, 20136:29 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    All the more reason to dominate the paint with the Moose and the Brahma Bull

  • Jan 20, 20136:52 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    “Nonetheless, Garnett and company are hovering over a .500 record because they own the eighth best defensive efficiency in the league”

    That statement right there is why Drummond should now be starting. That is unless management doesn’t want to win too much just in case we squeak into the playoffs.

    • Jan 21, 201310:23 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I don’t have enough confidence in Dumars or Frank to even consider trying to avoid the LeBron effect: getting the team good too fast to get any more high draft picks.

  • Jan 20, 20137:55 pm
    by bvpiston

    Reply

    Man, I thought George Blaha was going to have a coronary when BK had that nice dunk. I love me some Blaha!

  • Jan 20, 20138:14 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Notice the Picks and Screens…allowing Knight To be Aggressive….@Tarsier  

    • Jan 21, 201310:34 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I do see him sometimes play better, sometimes worse. But you seem to put his entire play style for every game on Frank. You could be right, but I just don’t see any reason to believe that Frank is playcalling for Knight to be passive.

      Lots of players in the league are sometimes more aggressive and sometimes less aggressive. Most of them play better when more aggressive. However, that is almost always put on them. I don’t know of anyone else who says “Player X really wasn’t aggressive today. His coach must really suck.”

  • Jan 20, 20138:16 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    I am impressed by Drummond defense on KG

  • Jan 20, 20138:21 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    uhmmm Frank how about call the Time out ..earlier? 

  • Jan 20, 20138:21 pm
    by ZekeKhaseli

    Reply

    Guard your man Rodney.. Geeez

  • Jan 20, 20138:29 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    we have a shot blocker in the game stop collapsing ….. the defense

  • Jan 20, 20138:35 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Singler and Knight both aggressive 

  • Jan 20, 20139:08 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Knight plays a dynamic first half with the ball in his hand….in the 2nd they take the ball out of his hand

  • Jan 20, 20139:51 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    for the Love of God why take Drummond out?

  • Jan 20, 20139:52 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    if the Celtics go on a run…. while Drummond is on the bench …That would make Frank a true idiot

  • Jan 20, 20139:56 pm
    by Rich

    Reply

    They took the ball out of Knight’s hand because Knight couldn’t handle even token backcourt pressure. 

  • Jan 20, 201310:06 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    good win

  • Jan 20, 201310:16 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Drummond 16pts 7rebs 1blk 1stl in 20 minutes…..6-8 from the FT LINE

  • Jan 20, 201310:24 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    I enjoyed the way Singler and Knight played tonight…both aggressive…

    Knight had 7 to’s …and I know Tarsier hates when I start took look behind the numbers…

    He had 7 to’s but only 3 where questionable or bad decisions…. Singler was 4-11 but I like that he was shooting with no hesitation…. 

  • Jan 20, 201310:30 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    i think they were frustrated about the london game.. and they came out more focused against celtics..

    we played better…excelent teamwork…

    with the way of things right now… eastern 8th seed is within our reach….. we just need to win alot of games…

    no.10,11,12 have similar records… i think if we start some streaks… and pray that toronto, orlando and philadelphia will start losing… and including boston…

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