Deciphering the Celtics

Isaiah Thomas led the march of the lemmings on Wednesday night, with the Pistons as Greek chorus, as he shot 2-16 (!) until ~3:49 of the 4th quarter — well after Boston had lost its lead, its mojo, and any sense of adequacy they might have had in this debacle masquerading as an NBA game. Then, finally, IT discovered where the bucket was and made 4-in-a-row — way too little way too late.

The only non-rookie who shot worse than Thomas was Marcus Smart, who went 1-10 for the game. And 0-1 at the FT line — at the most critical moment. [The rest of "the bench" was OK (rooks excluded), as Sully and Jerebko went 4-9 combined.]

A bona fide classic, this game was — great offense for a while, great defense for a while, then offense falls apart, then defense falls apart. End of fairy tale.

And on top of all that wreckage, the refs added their 2 cents — holding their worst mistakes until the last 12:02 of the game — you know, when they could do the most damage.

Here are details on the game, and where the club stands now...


Cs' Off. & Def. Efficiency Ratings vs. Detroit Pistons – Jan 6 2016:


Cs’ Offensive Rating for this game = 99.5 (pts scored per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the #29 offense in the NBA this season.
  • In the 1st quarter, the Celts' Off.Rtg. was an amazing 143.2. (Def.Rtg. = 101.8, ~#8.)
  • In the 3rd and 4th quarters, the Cs' Off.Rtg. dropped all the way down to 85.0 and 84.8, respectively — much, much worse than the league's worst offense.
  • Prior to this contest, DET's defense was rated #8 in the league (Def.Rtg. = 102.2) — solid, not great.
  • Versus the Cs, DET's D performed like the #2 defense in the league (Def.Rtg. = 99.5) — a reflection of the Cs' pathological inability to score.
Cs’ Defensive Rating for this game = 104.8 (pts allowed per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the league's #16 defense.
  • Cs' Def.Rtg. in the 1st quarter was 101.8 (~#8) — not bad. In the 3rd, it was 76.5 (#1 by far), so although BOS couldn't score, at least they held DET at bay too.
  • Then came quarter #4, in which the Celtics' Def.Rtg. deteriorated all the way to... {drum roll}.... 147.3 ! Smh. Unbelievable.
  • Coming into this game, the Pistons' offense was rated #20 in the league (Off.Rtg. = 104.1) — weak.
  • In the game as a whole, the Cs' D allowed DET's O to score at a level equivalent to the league's #14 offense (Off.Rtg. = 104.8) — a little better than the Pistons' season average.
Pace: Each team had 94 possessions – significantly slower than the Cs' season average (98.1 – #4 in NBA). League average = 95.7/game.

Referees: Grade: C+. Observations: There were 3 egregiously bad referee errors noted. The officiating crew of James Capers (#19), Bill Kennedy (#55) and Derek Richardson (#63) did a mostly great job through three quarters, minus a couple of seconds. After that, they were three too many egregious errors, two by referee Derek Richardson — who apparently likes to guess a lot.
  • At ~0:0.2 of the 2nd quarter, referee Bill Kennedy (#55) whistled a traveling violation on Reggie Jackson. It was a bad call. Reggie's action LOOKED funny, but it was no violation. He took exactly 2 steps after gathering the ball and shot it — just like the book says. Here's the video (without the replay).
  • At ~0.02 of the 3rd quarter, referee Derek Richardson (#63) blew a (very) late foul on Sullinger as he was guarding Jennings driving for a layup (which he missed). This was an egregiously bad call because in fact there was no contact, as Sully stood to one side when Jennings passed him to make sure of it. Here's the video (but they left out the closeup replay that followed).
  • At ~10:03 of the 4th quarter, Derek Richardson (#63) (again) called a foul on Jae Crowder who had swiped at the ball as Jennings drove by. Replay showed zero body contact, as Jae touched nothing but the ball. Bad call. Here's the video (but they left out the closeup replay).
  • Misc: The refs missed a goaltending call when Baynes blocked an Evan Turner shot at ~10:38 of the 2nd quarter — possibly because Sully got the offensive rebound and immediately scored on a layup, anyway. Here's video (but slow-mo replay is missing).
  • Special Interest: The foul call on Smart at ~0:40 of the 2nd quarter — about which Mike and Tommy complained a lot, because there was no apparent upper-body contact — was a correct call. Reason: Marcus' feet ended up occupying the space where Jackson landed. A defender MUST give a jump shooter room to land. Here's video.
  • Special Interest: The foul call on Crowder at ~8:36 of the 3rd quarter was also correct, because Jae hit Drummond on the face with his hand as the hand came down. Here's video.

This person hates losing...

Where do the Celtics stand now?


After the Pistons game...
  • Offensive Rating = 104.1 — #19 in NBA. (Range: #18-to-#23 in an extremely tight field.)
  • Defensive Rating = 100.3 — #2 in NBA.
  • Net Rating = +3.8 — #6 in NBA. (Down from +4.0, #5.)
A full analysis of the Celtics' current situation (as of Jan 1) appears here.
  • Updates: The trend line of the Net OARs (Opponent-Adjusted Ratings) is still pointing down, and the slope of the Offensive OARs' trend line for the full season is flat. For the last 10 games, the Offensive OARs trend line is now pointing down. (The trend of the offensive ratings is most significant, as it indicates whether or not the Cs' offense is improving. If the offense does not improve between now and April — the Celtics have no chance in the playoffs.)

Notes & Ruminations:

  • The Cs outplayed the Pistons through most of the first half. (That's two games in a row they've had spectacular first quarters.) Then the offense vanished in the 3rd. Then the defense vanished in the 4th. And that was all she wrote.
  • Boston was given 4 free throws in the final seconds, when they were down by 4 points. Isaiah missed one and so did Smart. Typical, for this game.
  • Isaiah had a miserable shooting night — was it that thumb sprain we heard about? — but on the other hand (ha!), he was the Cs' ONLY SCORER in the last 8:36 of the game. Amazing. When this offense decides to disappear — it is GONERS.
  • What's the Celts' lesson from this game? Imo: You can't back down when you're ahead and the other team starts pushing you around. It's always tempting to think there's no need to fight so hard, especially when you're ahead, but the truth is — you HAVE to fight to the very end, else embarrassments like this will happen.
  • The Bulls are next, on no rest. It's hard to imagine the Cs getting up for that battle after this debacle at home. But that's the thing about this team: You never know.

Green Stats runs after Celtics games, right here, usually within ~ 1 to 20 hours of the final horn. Note: Some posts will be (much) longer than others, and some games may be skipped altogether.
Efficiency ratings source for comps: Basketball-reference.com. Misc: RealGM.com. (Note: Our formulas for pace and ratings are similar to those used by these sites, and most others. NBA.com's numbers will differ somewhat, as they use different formulas.)

For an intro to the advanced stats used here in Green Stats, see: Green Stats: Intro to advanced stats +...

Photo: Barry Chin/Globe

Follow DRJ on Twitter @DRJ_CsNStats

DRJ 1/07/2016 03:18:00 AM Edit
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