Things We Learned From the Celtics Five Game Road Trip

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Things We Learned From the Celtics Five Game Road Trip

Post by bobheckler on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:22 pm

Things we learned from the Celtics' five-game road trip
February 26, 2013, 12:15 pm

A. Sherrod Blakely

SALT LAKE CITY — When the final bags were loaded onto the team bus bound for the airport, the Celtics' five-game road trip was a thing of the past.

And with things of the past, there is time for reflection.

Boston didn't have the kind of success they sought out West, winning two games compared to three losses. But despite their record during the trip, the Celtics grew to understand not only how to win but, more importantly, who they are and who they need to be in order to be successful.

So as we look back on the last five games, here are a handful of things that collectively provide a much clearer picture as to who this Celtics team really is.

Team rhythm over rest
Prior to the All-Star break, the Celtics were playing their best basketball of the season with wins in seven of eight games.

But whatever mojo the C's had prior to the break, it decided to take a few days off after the break as well.

Their success leading up to the break was due in large part to the C's being in a nice rhythm. Players' minutes were about the same. Most games featured at least one Celtics player with a better-than-average night. And with the games coming pretty steady, life was good for the Celtics.

And now comes a stretch in which they will play just one game in the next seven days, which is in some ways worse for players than the downtime they had during the break.

"It definitely took us a minute to get back to playing Celtics basketball after the break," C's guard Jason Terry told "Hopefully this time it won't take so long."

"Good T-Will" meets "Bad T-Will"

One of Terrence Williams' good friends in the NBA is fellow Seattle native Nate Robinson. And like Robinson when he played for the Celtics, Williams has already shown some very Nate-like tendencies.

In two games with the Celtics, Williams showcased a passing game that was far and away better than anything any other Celtic has done since Rondo's season-ending injury.

And just as fans were ready to anoint him the savior in this Rondo-free world of Celtics basketball, he went away from his strengths in Boston's loss at Portland.

And so Doc Rivers went away from him altogether in the final game of the trip.

Williams' 10-day contract is up on Friday. And while Danny Ainge has not said one way or another as to what he will do with Williams, it's hard to imagine the Celtics would find another point guard with his talents and skills, meaning the likelihood of Williams returning for a second, 10-day contract is fairly high.

Bradley's identity should be that of the Celtics
The Celtics have a growing number of younger players who are like sponges in trying to soak up all they can from Boston's elder statesmen like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.

But it is Avery Bradley's lead that they should follow.

He's around their age, and yet he plays with the kind of wisdom and edge to his game that most young players simply don't get as being key to their long-term growth.

Boston had lots of heroes in its 110-107 overtime win at Utah, among them Bradley and his season-high 18 points. But he did more than just score points. He showed his fellow young teammates them how to lead by example, playing with the kind of reckless and fearless focus at both ends of the floor that can only provide a boost to the C's as they try and continue to push towards the playoffs.

Teams becoming Green with envy
Jeff Green isn't going to score 31 points every nights. He knows this. So do a lot of really smart NBA folks who are paid to know such things.

But if there's one thing that's clear to even the most novice basketball aficionado, it is that Jeff Green has stepped his game up this month.

Seeing him display one of the better all-around games from time to time is maddening to many considering how infrequent such displays have been. But that seems to be behind him now -- at least for this past month.

This season, he's averaging 10.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. In the month of February he's averaging 15.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Green is still very much a work in progress in his first full season with the Celtics. But it's clear that his game is improving not only in terms of production but in its consistency as well.

Live, die by the jumper
We all know the Celtics are a jump-shooting team; have been for years, truthfully. Because of Boston's lack of size, it's an understandable way to do things.

But this most recent road trip proved that when the Celtics get stops, they need to do more to attack defenses. This season, 31.7 percent of Boston's field goal attempts were within five feet of the rim. According to, that number has dipped to 28.4 percent in the C's last five games.

Several factors -- opponent, time of the game and score at that time -- play a role in the type of shot attempts the Celtics get. But those variables aside, the Celtics' reliance on jumpers positions them for both the fruits and failures that come with playing that brand of basketball.



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