But what about the other end of the floor? Unlike Doc Rivers's teams, Brad Stevens's 2014-15 Celtics have made offensive output their calling card, ranking at the top of the NBA in field goal attempts while averaging 101.4 points per game, good for 13th in the league. Thirteenth is also where Cleveland's defense ranks in opponents' ppg, at 98.7 points allowed. More encouraging for the Celtics, the Cavs are only 20th in opponents' field goal percentage, at 45.6 percent.
As Grantland's Zach Lowe noted after game 1, it's unlikely that this will be enough to swing the entire series Boston's way due to Cleveland's offensive firepower, but it could help the C's steal a game or two, especially back at TD Garden later this week.
The Celtics are by no means a sharpshooting team: Their 44.3 percent field goal accuracy in the regular season was the second-worst among playoff teams, better only than Chicago's 44.2. But they did rank in the top 10 for fewest turnovers committed, and the Cavaliers were in the bottom 10 when it came to forcing them.
At least some Celtics are aware that there could be an opportunity there for the taking:
Jae Crowder on Cavs: "They’re not the best defensive team. They have holes in their defense and we have to expose that."
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 19, 2015
James is Cleveland's best defensive player, and Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson provide commanding presences down low, but Irving, Love and J. R. Smith are all exploitable on D. If the Celtics can put together a strong offensive performance for a full 48 minutes, with better shooting nights from Avery Bradley and Evan Turner, they could at least put some fear into the Eastern Conference favorites.
Follow Nick García on Twitter @N_A_Garcia
Image credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images Nick García 4/20/2015 06:22:00 PM Tweet Edit