## The Algebra of the Game: Pistons out-sprint C’s to the finish, good time for a pit stop

Tonight’s five games will represent the 42nd playing date of the season – the quarter-pole for the 168 days upon which games are scheduled.

Last night, Brad Stevens’s Celtics and Stan Van Gundy’s Detroit Pistons each shot their three-pointers at better than 40 percent. While this is a first for in a C’s game this season, it’s actually happened 35 times in the league’s first 297 games (through Monday) – the 19th time when both sides had attempted at least 25 treys.

Up until the 2008-09 season, there had been only 27 NBA games ever in which both teams shot 40+% on 25+ 3FGA’s. Since then – through yesterday – there have been 166 such games.

The Modern NBA, huh?

Summative Equation:
Bos – 48 Conversions + [7 “Stripes”] {16 treys “minus” 9 missed FT’s “equals” 7 stripes}
Det – 54 Conversions + [7 “Stripes”] {11 treys “minus” 4 missed FT’s “equals” 7 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- -6 Conversions + [0 Stripes] = C’s lose by 12 points
Actual Score: Boston 108, Detroit 118

However, all those treys –when factored in with missed FT’s – impacted the outcome of this game not a whit. [Notice right above that the “Stripes” are dead even.]

The Pistons whooped Boston the old-fashioned way in this game. They posted a 15-10 advantage in “follow-up” points and a whopping 26-10 edge in points following turnovers.

Summative Equation (Season-to-date):
Bos – 1040 Conversions + [+128 Stripes] {249 treys minus 121 missed FT’s equals 128 stripes}
Opp – 987 Conversions + [+83 Stripes] {189 treys minus 106 missed FT’s equals 83 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- +53 Conversions + [+45 Stripes] = C’s win by (106 + 45) 151 points
Actual Score: Boston 2284, Opponents 2130

The Celtics’ defensive effectiveness was inconsistent for the entire game. They were able to make two or more consecutive stops only eight times – just three times in the first half. Contrast that with Detroit’s total of 13, eight in the second half.

This loss is the second game this week (the Orlando victory the other) – and only the third time this season – when the “bad guys” have recorded 50 or more conversions.

Perhaps a respite in the schedule is arriving at an opportune time.

The Algebra of the Game

1st Quarter
FG: C’s – 11-24, .458 / Det – 14-24, .583
3FG: C’s – 1-5, .200 / Det – 3-7, .429
FT: C’s – 0-1, .000 [0] / Det – 0-0, .000 [0]
TO: C’s – 3 / Det – 2
OR: C’s – 2 + 1 (team) / Det – 2 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24 / Det – 24
CV%: C’s – 11 / 24, .458 / Det – 14 / 24, .583

2nd Quarter
FG: C’s – 12-17, .706 / Det – 11-18, .611
3FG: C’s – 6-8, .750 / Det – 3-5, .600
FT: C’s – 4-8, .500 [3] / Det – 4-5, .800 [2]
TO: C’s – 6 / Det – 4
OR: C’s – 2 + 0 (team) / Det – 1 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24 / Det – 23
CV%: C’s – 15 / 24, .625 / Det – 13 / 23, .565

3rd Quarter
FG: C’s – 11-19, .579 / Det – 8-20, .400
3FG: C’s – 5-8, .625 / Det – 4-6, .667
FT: C’s – 2-5, .400 [2] / Det – 6-8, .750 [4]
TO: C’s – 4 / Det – 0
OR: C’s – 0 + 1 (team) / Det – 0 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24 / Det – 24
CV%: C’s – 13 / 24, .542 / Det – 12 / 24, .500

 Class act
4th Quarter
FG: C’s – 6-17, .353 / Det – 11-23, .478
3FG: C’s – 4-12, .333 / Det – 1-7, .143
FT: C’s – 6-7, .857 [3] / Det – 9-10, .900 [4]
TO: C’s – 4 / Det – 2
OR: C’s – 1 + 0 (team) / Det – 5 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 23 / Det – 23
CV%: C’s – 9 / 23, .391 / Det – 15 / 23, .652

Full Game
FG: C’s – 40-77, .519 / Det – 44-85, .518
3FG: C’s – 16-33, .485 / Det – 11-25, .440
FT: C’s – 12-21, .571 [8] / Det – 19-23, .826 [10]
TO: C’s – 17 / Det – 8
OR: C’s – 5 + 2 (team) / Det – 8 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 95 / Det – 94
CV%: C’s – 48 / 95, .505 / Det – 54 / 94, .574

Note re Calculations:
The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value.

For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.

“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s)
“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions

At the six-week point of the 2016-17 season, the Boston Celtics owned an Offensive Rebounding Percentage of .214 while their opponents OR% stood at .261.

To this point this season, our OR% has improved to .223, but the opposition’s rate has dwindled to .192.

There might be cause for concern, though. An overall 18-point advantage in “follow-up” points after five weeks has diminished to just six (246-240) over the past four games – the C’s were on the wrong side of that ledger three out of four times in Week 6.

images: bostonherald.com

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