POST GAME BUCKS

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POST GAME BUCKS

Post by 112288 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:18 pm

NEXT GAME - MONDAY - AT CHICAGO - 8PM - CSNE/NBA LEAGUE PASS


POST GAME RECAP ESPNBOSTON.COM

Rapid reaction: Celtics 96, Bucks 92

By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com

Jason Terry and the Celtics came out of the gates slow, but finished strong in Milwaukee.
Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 96-92 on Saturday night at the Bradley Center:

Rapid reaction following the Boston Celtics' 96-92 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Saturday night.

THE NITTY GRITTY
Paul Pierce was tops for the Celtics in both points (25) and rebounds (9), emerging as the team's most consistent source of offense for much of the second half. Pierce scored 19 of his 25 over the final two quarters. Kevin Garnett added 18 points and six rebounds, Jason Terry chipped in 15 points, and Jeff Green came through late, finishing with 12 points and three rebounds. Rajon Rondo had another double-double, completing his night with 10 points and 10 assists. Monta Ellis poured in 32 points for the Bucks, who had five players reach double figures in scoring.

FRANTIC FINISH
The Bucks carried a 68-64 edge into the fourth quarter, and the score remained close into the waning minutes. Things really picked up around the 5:00 mark when Pierce and Ellis engaged in an old-school back-and-forth scoring duel. From the 5:18 mark to the 3:54 mark, the two practically went shot-for-shot, capped off by each knocking down a 3-pointer for their respective clubs, Ellis' giving the Bucks a one-point edge. But Garnett then got in on the act, knocking down consecutive jumpers, and Brandon Bass added a jump shot of his own from the left corner with just under two minutes left, giving Boston an 87-82 lead. A Marquis Daniels jumper with 25 seconds left brought the Bucks within one, 91-90, but after Terry hit one of two free throws, Green came up with a pivotal steal on Ersan Ilyasova, and the C's sealed things from the free throw line from there.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME
It appears we're in the midst of a rejuvenation of the Rajon Rondo to Kevin Garnett alley-oop. It's occurred a handful of times so far this season, and the pair managed to execute it twice more tonight. The second came with just over a minute left in the first half, as the pair lined up for a pick-and-roll on the left side before Garnett dove back to the hoop and displayed some youthful athleticism as he rose up to throw down Rondo's pinpoint pass.

DOC SWITCHES STARTERS
Admitting to reporters prior to the game that he was "searching," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers elected to shuffle his starting lineup, inserting Brandon Bass and Jason Terry in place of Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee, respectively. Though the unit had marginal success in the opening frame (the Celtics didn't exactly explode out of the gate), it did show potential at the start of the second half. Trailing by three heading into intermission, the group, on the strength of two Terry 3-pointers helped claw Boston back and eventually take a seven-point edge. Though Milwaukee mounted a mini-rally of its own to take a lead going into the fourth, there were still positive signs from that particular group.

GREEN EMERGES LATE
Jeff Green's dealt with his fair share of inconsistent play this season, and public scrutiny as a result, but he persevered through a 3-of-8 shooting night to finish with 12 points and three rebounds. He scored eight of his 12 in the fourth quarter, kicking things off with two sweeping layups. He then came back on the other end, chasing down the Bucks in transition and eventually swatting away a Mike Dunleavy layup attempt that would have tied the game at 74. He then put in a crucial jump hook with a minute and a half remaining, putting Boston up five, and helped end Milwaukee's run with his late strip on Ilyasova.

RONDO'S STREAK REMAINS
It wasn't as easy as it's been in past outings, but Rondo registered double figures in assists once again. Saturday's game marked the 30th consecutive time Rondo has had at least 10 assists, good for the third-longest streak in NBA history. He now trails John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46) for the all-time record.

WHAT IT MEANS
Doc Rivers said he'd take ugly wins as his team works through its ongoing chemistry/cohesion issues, and Saturday's game certainly fit that bill. After slogging through a murky first half in which they shot just 35 percent and turned the ball over 10 times, the Celtics responded with a hard-fought effort in the fourth quarter, refusing to fold as Milwaukee's offensive weapons, particularly Ellis, caught fire. The C's received important contributions from a host of players, including Green, who had to get a bit of a confidence boost after his best outing of the season. Rivers went with some unorthodox and sparsely used lineups during the fourth quarter, but it's all a part of the ongoing effort to find units that are able to work together. Despite not playing their best ball still, the Celtics can hold their heads high, enjoy the win and a day off Sunday, and gear up for a showdown with a tough Chicago Bulls team on Monday.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by tardust on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:27 am

Nice to see JG show up a little. RR kept his streak alive, barely. There was a PP sighting. Our defense play a little better the second half. I would just like to see us cut off some of the points in the paint. That has killed us all year. Dalembert looked like Wilt out there dunking for a while.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by bobheckler on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:38 am

Sam and I met up, as planned, at Lefty O'Doul's in San Francisco. I was there early, watching the pre-game show, and then as soon as that was over the TV went blank. No subscription for the game. So, we made the best of it, relaxing and chatting. There were a couple of extremely, ridiculously hot women wearing outfits that are banned in parts of the world I would never live in giving away free Maker's Mark. No wonder I love San Francisco. Several of the people around me don't drink Maker's Mark, apparently, and passed theirs to me. No Celtics, but I was still happy as a clam. Around halftime Sam and I packed up our kit bags and hoofed it a few blocks to another sports bar where I was able to cajole a rather large individual to switch one of the TVs from the college football game it was on to the Celts game. As Hannibal Smith used to say "I love it when a plan comes together". After the game I was thrilled to be able to introduce Sam to a part of San Francisco he wasn't familiar with, after all these decades of going there, called "Little Paris". For a Francophile like Sam, being the first to show him that was like hitting the lottery. I really enjoy these opportunities to meet board members face-to-face, obviously including ones I've already met. There's just nothing like putting a face and body language together with an online persona to enrich a relationship.

Perhaps the most significant part of this game, other than that we won, is that we were able to win a close game and still only played KG 31 minutes.

1. Sam remarked how Pierce's shots are now almost totally flat, very little arc. I never thought of him shooting high arching shots but maybe he has lost an inch off his leap and that's flattening them out. He'll figure it out, and seemed to last night.

2. Courtney Lee's game has shriveled up. I repeatedly saw Monta Ellis burn him in just about every way. I realize that technically Ellis was JET's man, now that JET was starting in Lee's place, but the half I saw had Lee on Ellis a lot.

3. Every starter has a positive +/-. I'd rather have Terry come off the bench, but if this is what we need to have...

4. As I said, I didn't see the 1st half, but the Jeff Green I saw in the 2nd half looked very good. Aggressive, attacking the basket, swooping in for layups and not just hanging around the perimeter looking for the easy jumper. Sam and I spent a few moments kicking around the idea that Green's consistency problems come from immaturity.

5. 34 total ftas is very good. 14 total TOs is good. 20 total assists with Rondo getting 10 of them, not so good (especially when paired with the 14 TOs). We need another playmaker on the bench. I anticipate a mid-season trade.

6. Chemistry seems to be coming along. Pierce and KG were driving and kicking to JET, who was exactly where they expected him to be.

7. A key to this game was keeping Ilyasova off the boards. I'm starting to develop a real love-hate relationship with that Turk. I can't even count how many times his rebounding has killed us. Last night he was held to 6 boards, only one of them offensive, and spent most of his game shooting from the outside. Poorly. Ask Sam how many times I cheered when I saw Ilyasova shoot a jumper. He's not a bad shooter, although last night's stats belie that, but I'd sure as hell prefer him shooting 3s and mid-rangers than cleaning up the boards from 2' out.

8. Another cheer for Marquis Daniels. He played, what I thought, was a very good game. Under control, as usual. As usual, players just can't seem to keep him out of the paint. He's sneaky good when he's in there, not good when he's not. Try keeping him on the perimeter, though.


I'm leaving in a few hours for a few days in Sedona, AZ. I'll probably be off the board until Friday. If I can, I'll try and sneak some peeks to read some of the posts, but probably won't be responding to any.

Go Celtics! And thanks again, Sam. Cinnamon!


bob


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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by sam on Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:10 pm

If you're up for a thoroughly delightful evening, get together in San Francisco with Bob Heckler for Celtics basketball, loads of interesting conversation, and dinner at a great French restaurant (has anyone heard of a "s'mores souffle?"). Bob really knows this town, and his conversation is as good as his writing (which we all know is tops). Many thanks to Bob for his hospitality, all his driving, and his friendship.

Speaking of which, I have to share the fact that, in addition to getting together with Bob, yesterday was one of my best days ever. I finally tracked down an old San Francisco friend whom I've been searching for over the course of 35 years. I happened upon his trailer just as he and his wife (who's now virtually blind) were backing out of their driveway to go out for the day. Five seconds later, and I would have missed them. We had lunch and will have dinner tomorrow after I reunite with my wife, who's spending the weekend with college girlfriends. I discovered that some things mean even more in life than a Celtics win. And friendship is at the top of the list.

Speaking of Celtics wins (what a segue), last night was more like it. Not the win itself but the fact that one could almost viscerally feel the team (at least most of it) really starting to "get it." FAR from perfect, but a step (as in transitioning from crawling to walking) in the right direction. What I appreciated most was the defense, which is FINALLY a semblance of the "D" that has been their trademark in the KG regime. They were rotating very well in what I call the "lunge and recover" defensive scheme. (We saw only the second half, but I have to assume it was more of the same in holding the Bucks to 42 points in the first half.)

I was also very happy when Jeff Green came alive down the stretch. It has to do wonders for him in contributing when it really meant something, including a win.

Nice to see JET playing his type of game more consistently; KG being the very model of consistency; Paul (you know—the old guy who has lost pi (3.1416 for you mathematicians) steps—taking it to the hoop); Rondo continuing his assist binge; Bass playing some pretty good defense and being offensively aggressive.

I believe Doc has realized that, in his zeal to get the bench into a rhythm, he (and maybe a lot of us) overlooked the fact that the real priority should be to get the starters into a rhythm (since they'll probably be playing at least 2/3 of the minutes against the opponents' best players) and then to place increasing emphasis on (1) increasing the cohesiveness of those who, by default, are on the bench and (2) identifying the hybrid combinations of starters and bench players that work best together—especially in certain situations. Although a lot of us (definitely including myself) have been excited about the multiplicity of combinations Doc has at his disposal, sometimes wading through the experimentation with lots of combinations can reduce the number of repetitions each combination has, and I believe that's been part of any early malaise on this team. Right now, the best starting lineup appears to include Bass and Terry. They're the least likely combo to suffer a major deficit early in the game and, hopefully, will soon become the most likely combo to carve out a good-sized, "catch-me-if-you can" lead from the outset. Perhaps Sully and/or Lee will supplant Bass and/or Terry in the #1 lineup as they become more comfortable in filling productive roles. But, in order to have the best chance of establishing at least a reasonable degrees of rhythm and momentum now, I believe KG, Bass, Pierce, Terry and Rondo currently represent the team's best starting option. The starting lineup could very well vary depending on matchups as the season wears on, and it's possible that having so much offensive firepower in the same combination could result in their getting in one another's way and/or stripping the bench of any remote offense.

Getting back to this game for a moment, sure, I could mention that I'm still waiting for Lee to carve out a contributing role. I could question some of Rondo's inside pass attempts. I could dwell on the trite term, "a work in progress." I could belabor the fact that, once again, the Celts trailed the opponent in fast break points and points in the paint. I could drag out the terminally trite "a win is a win" abomination. But, for me, this is a day for only positives. If anyone wants to contradict anything I have said, take a shot. But be forewarned that, today, you're dealing with a totally positive steamroller who will smite any obstacle in his path. You haven't lived until you've been smote by me.

I am one exquisitely happy "boy" today. Best to all.

Sam

P.S. to Bob. Thanks for the suggestion. I went online and located a cinnamon plantation just south of Cape Cod (I believe that would be Cape Hatteras). I'm going to convince my wife to vacation there in a non-hurricane season.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by mrkleen09 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:47 pm

Sounds like a great night in SF.

I agree with Sam's assessment that in spite of it being close down the stretch, this game had a different feel - the Celtics were clearly playing harder, more agressive and look like they are finally on the right track.

Chris Wilcox is emerging as a major player on this team - as he seems to be the only big who can anchor the defense when KG goes out. Over time, maybe Sully can also develop this role - but right now, Wilcox is holding it down.

Pierce's shot may be flat, but his desire and drive is without question and he really got it going at one point showing he will be just fine. His legs are getting there.

Good game...good win. Go get one in Chicago tomorrow and keep the ball rolling.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by sam on Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:35 pm

Mrkleen,

I'm glad you mentioned Wilcox—and especially his defense. For some time, most comments about him have involved running the floor and slamming passes from Rondo. And the importance of that is not to be minimized. But, while he's no Bill Russell or even Kevin Garnett, I think he's got sufficient defensive skills to compete with opposing centers—particularly second-line centers (many of him are not-so-glorified PFs themselves). The importance of Chris' health over the next few months should not be ignored. Good catch.

I mentioned Pierce shot because I've always thought his free throws were rather flat, and I've been concerned about how little margin of error there is in a flat shot. (I always marveled at Heinsohn's ability to hit line drive shots; but, heck, Tommy's tied with Sam Jones for highest-scoring Celtics (all time) in terms of points per 36 minutes.)

Inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, I think this team is showing signs of starting to put all the glimmers together and competing they way they're very capable of becoming. And, if people can just keep being patient and not expecting overnight miracles, it's going to be a huge pleasure to watch the team's metamorphasis.

If Doc keeps starting Terry (at least for a while), maybe coming off the bench will accomplish two things for Lee: (1) giving him a wakeup call just in case he needs it, (2) at the same time, taking some starting pressure off him, and (3) making scoring opportunities more available for him than when playing with KG, Pierce and Rondo.

Hope married life is really agreeing with both of you. Have a lot of fun.

Sam

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by mrkleen09 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:54 pm

Thanks Sam....I could not be happier and Erin is helping me to keep a smile on my face and a good life balance. Hell, we even went out on Friday and I had to watch the game on tape and didnt freak out about it. Laughing

Hopefully Pierce's flat shot is a result of his annual not showing up to camp in prime shape...and he rounds into form as the season goes on. But I think it is also down to fire.

Philly aside, they have basically played teams with very little natural rivalry and at this point, Pierce kind of needs to have a reason to get up. I think the second meeting with Milwaukee in a week and Tobias Harris trying to push him around and bang him a little, got the captain's juices flowing last night and when he got Harris into foul trouble - his eyes lit up with Dunleavy coming in.

This will not be a problem against Carmello, Lebron, Deng or others at the position on many nights - so I expect Paul to be just fine.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by cowens/oldschool on Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:01 pm

Doc force fed Jeff Green the ball as soon as he got in the game in the first half, this is exactly what may need to be done to get his head into the game, it wasn't successful early, but glad he came through late as every basket he scored was beautiful and crucial to pull out the win. He hasn't played in a year, maybe its just gonna take repetition and repetition to get him to start playing aggresive all the time, he obviously has athleticism and skill.Chris Wilcox made alot of nice plays off feeds and his timing is only gonna get better as a few plays were also off, but right there, repetition, repetition. Courtney Lee is in a little shooting slump, hes a better defender than Ray, but no where near AB as Monta Ellis was abusing him. A realistic goal would be 2 or 3 fast breaks a game where he sneaks out early ahead of the defense, this is something hes very capable of doing.

Doc limited Sully, good move as game before he got 4 boards in 20 minutes and in this game grabbed 4 in 8 minutes. Green needs to be getting 25-30 minutes a game, if hes only getting 16 minutes at the 3, we need him to get the rest at the 4, so until Sully starts becoming a glass eating monster, we can limit some of his minutes. Pierce is a physical marvel, he always produces in a second game of back to backs, he had one left handed finger roll taking contact in the 4th that was vintage attacking Pierce, very few players can hang in the air and take the hit and finish like that at 35.....hes got alot in the tank and I see him getting stronger as the season wears on.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by sam on Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:36 pm

Mrkleen, welcome to the "sneak a peek" club. One learns to sit facing the tv at restaurants and sneak looks when the wife glances down to stab a piece of steak. Another good point about Pierce's motivation benefiting from his competitive instinct.

Cow, I'm hoping Doc finds a way to "force feed" (as you call it) Lee in similar fashion as he did with Green.

Sam


Last edited by sam on Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:17 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by 112288 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:13 pm

Folks, it's just one game with Green and granted he looked like the Green of preseason, attacking the rim....but come on....let's see if he can make it two games in a row and build on that. Green is playing as if he has no contract for next year.......he's a bit of a head case....he just needs to go out and play an attacking game...if he fails in the beginning so be it..he'll catch fire and when he does....look out. Just like Bradley....how many wanted to give up on the kid.....he failed miserably in the beginning, but one day he went out with I don't care attitude and he's been the talk of the town ever since!

Lee is another story. I think he can be a very good player and his offensive game comes from him playing great defense. What I have observed so far is he is not as aggressive on defense as he was in preseason which helped pickup his shooting and offensive game. I think a good dose of Bradley perhaps playing together will go a long way for Lee.

Perhaps Doc and the organization brings too much pressure down on young players and young vets that creates an undo burden on their maturity and success!

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:56 am

112288

We know its one game, actually it was one good quarter, but we needed it and its a step in the right direction. Green doesn't come through and were all still dumbfounded with another possible loss to a non playoff team. Doc is doing the right thing as he force fed Green the ball as soon as he got in making him the primary option. Green has the ability to create his own shot, often having the speed advantage over even shorter matchups at the 3.

Courtney Lee is another story as he has to create similar to Wilcox, off feeds from others at different spots on the floor. I think hes getting good shots, their just not falling, but they seem makeable and I would hope its just a matter of time before those shots start dropping. Lee showed an ability in preseason to get out early in transition and beat the defense down the floor for one man fastbreaks, this should be another area of focus for him to get even further easy baskets that will get him and team going.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by sinus007 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:13 am

Hi,
My impression was that the team made visible step forward: some of the parts of the machine clicked in and started to move together.
It's still a long way from even a playoff team level but the progress is in progress. Plus a win, which is good thing in any case.
Today is a good test. Let's see if they continue to improve.

AK

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by swedeinestonia on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:23 am

What I liked the most about that game was that they seemed to want to win and do what it takes to get there even though they had bad stretches.

In previous games it sort of felt like they had no confidence when they faced obstacles and instead of pushing through they sort of went "meh" and folded.

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Re: POST GAME BUCKS

Post by sam on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:09 pm

I HAVE MOVED THIS POST TO ITS OWN "STICKY" THREAD THAT WILL CONTINUALLY APPEAR AT THE TOP OF THE LIST OF THREADS.

Sam

Now that the Celtics have now played six games, I believe it’s appropriate to look at very preliminary trends in the seven statistical calculations I’ve been following. (I was going to do this after five games, but I was enjoying my San Francisco vacation too much.) I emphasize that these are my own calculations, based on raw data available from many sources.

Every figure you’ll see is a “season-to-date” stat. In other words, the stats linked to game two are really the cumulative total for game one plus game two—not for game two alone. By presenting cumulative figures, rather than data for each game separately, the trends will be smoother, rather than being subject to the herky jerky game-to-game swings. The season-to-date figures will be presented in order of the games that have been played.

Where they’re available, the comparable data for the championship season of 2007-08 and for last season will also be presented.

With that little preamble, let’s take a look at the seven statistical categories:

1. Ratio of assists to made field goals:

There has been a very gradual but quite consistent growth in this category, which I view as one of several indicators of offensive chemistry. After only six games, this percentage is already trending ahead of last season’s and far ahead of the championship season.

2007-2008:….61%
Last season:…67%

After game 1: 62%
After game 2: 64%
After game 3: 65%
After game 4: 68%
After game 5: 71%
After game 6: 70%

2. Offensive rebounds % of available offensive rebounds:

Although we complained about it for virtually all of the season, even last season’s offensive rebounding efficiency was far better than the team is averaging this season;—and the championship season was, in comparison, out of sight. And, so far, there’s no statistical sign of progress.

2007-2008:….27%
Last season:....20%

After game 1: 18%
After game 2: 16%
After game 3: 15%
After game 4: 15%
After game 5: 16%
After game 6: 17%

3. Defensive rebounds % of available defensive rebounds:

This is one category in which the team has shown marked improvement from the season’s outset. There’s no real improvement since the very high stat for the Heat game, but 80% or so would seem to be adequate to be very competitive—IF it stays at or around the 80% level even when playing against the iron.

2007-2008…..74%
Last season ....72%

After game 1: 87%
After game 2: 80%
After game 3: 80%
After game 4: 80%
After game 5: 79%
After game 6: 77%

4. Fast break points % of total points:

I find it a scary that this category, which was supposed to be a major asset for this team, has declined with every one of the six games so far. My own take is that (without knowing how the starters and bench fare individually) the starters—with Rondo at the helm KG getting the board, and with KG, Lee or Terry, Bass and even Pierce running the floor—is probably faring better than the bench-of-the-night. In my estimation, this stat has gone downhill because, as attention has increasingly been focused on getting the starters in synch, the bench is struggling to gain the kind of rhythm needed to sustain a healthy transition game.

2007-2008…..NA (Wasn’t able to find quickly, but maybe later, or perhaps someone else can contribute)
Last season …NA

After game 1: 25%
After game 2: 23%
After game 3: 19%
After game 4: 18%
After game 5: 17%
After game 6: 16%

5. Points in the paint % of total points:

2007-2008…..NA (Wasn’t able to find quickly, but maybe later, or perhaps someone else can contribute)
Last season …NA

The raw numbers producing these percentages are obviously low. So it’s no big surprise that, as time has elapsed, the impact of points in the paint has not increased and, if anything, has declined somewhat.

After game 1: 39%
After game 2: 40%
After game 3: 37%
After game 4: 35%
After game 5: 36%
After game 6: 36%

6. Points on 3-point shots % of total points:

Based solely on stats—and particularly on comparisons with the past, the three-ball efficiency is not all that far below where it needs to be in order to be competitive. But what concerns me is that, since both points in the paint and three pointers are on the downside of previous averages, it’s very likely that the team is depending more on the jumper than is maximally healthy. More aggressiveness down low from guys like Green and even Sully when he’s in there would help the cause. I’m not an advocate of featuring the three-ball, but just a “normal” contribution from Lee could change the three-pointer from a “stay even” kind of strategy to a legitimate weapon that will not only aid their scoring but also will help them spread the floor better.

2007-2008…..22%
Last season …18%

After game 1: 17%
After game 2: 17%
After game 3: 20%
After game 4: 18%
After game 5: 17%
After game 6: 17%

7. Turnovers as % of opponents’ turnovers;

This is an area that has shown improvement with every single game. They’ve reached and passed the 95% level from the championship and last seasons. This is another indicator of gradually improving chemistry.

2007-2008…..95%
Last season …95%

After game 1: 188%
After game 2: 126%
After game 3: 102%
After game 4: ..97%
After game 5: ..95%
After game 6: ..93%

8. Field goals attempted as % of opponents’ field goals attempted:

Everyone knows I’m a fan of volume basketball. Not D’Antoni kind of racehorse, shoot-within-seven-seconds, but, rather, steady uptempo pushing of the ball (either to get into the halfcourt offense sooner or to get out on the break). So far, this team that was supposed to feature improved speed among its assets hasn’t approached the levels of the championship season (especially) and last season. In fact, they seem to be regressing somewhat. This may be the trend I hate most. Up-tempo ball can cure or circumvent so many problems (chemistry, poor shooting, turnovers) by attacking the opponents before they’re defensively ready or creating easy buckets.

2007-2008……99%
Last season …..97%

After game 1: ..95%
After game 2: ..90%
After game 3: ..96%
After game 4: ..93%
After game 5: ..93%
After game 6: ..91%

So what does all of this mean 7% of the way through the season?

Strengths to sustain and build upon:

• Chemistry: Gradual improvement’s just fine, thank you.

• Defensive rebounding: This factor should go hand-in-hand with more up-tempo ball while reducing opponents’ second-chance baskets.

• Protecting the ball: This is an area that looked like a disaster at the outset of the season but how shows signs of being a more consistent strength compared with the performances of competitors)

Areas that need improvement:

• Upping the tempo: When you’ve got the break, take it and don’t depend on too many hail Mary passes and cross-court passes that can be picked off easily. When you haven’t got the break, push the ball and get into your offense before the opponents’ defense is set. Increase the number of halfcourt possessions on which you are able to go to second and third options. This, in conjunction with reasonable ball protection, should get you more shots per game.

• Offensive rebounding: If Sully is to get fewer minutes than was true earlier, we need Bass, Barnett, Wilcox and Rondo to step up in this area. Crashing the offensive boards helps to slow down the opponent’s transition game; and, if it’s done well, it can reduce the need for the entire Celtics team to head for the other end as soon as a Celtics outside shot is in the air.

• Consider inserting Darko or Collins to set some solid picks and enable more Celtics (Pierce, Lee, Green, ?Bradley?, etc.) to slash to the hoop.’

This is all as preliminary as it gets. But I hope that it will provide a decent baseline with which to measure progress over time.

Sam

sam
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