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The NBATV studio broadcast crew for Monday night’s Celtics-Clippers tilt – particularly former Cavs GM David Griffin – seemed to be filing away the increasingly inevitable C’s defeat as a “schedule loss” and the consequence of a multi-day hiatus in laid-back LA. (By contrast, last season’s late-January So-Cal visit featured a Staples Center back-to-back.)

Idle Hands + Devil’s Workshop = Lack of Urgency, huh?

That little equation just may well sum up Boston’s erratic regular-season performance as well – although that all can’t be laid at the doorstep of the allure of La-La Land.

Last year’s regular-season over-achievement re-established the Celtics as an elite NBA team. The next stage of development for a squad is to evolve into a genuine contender – and that happens in May and June.

This absence of significance for the regular-season is exacerbated by the now-common practice of the “healthy scratch” – Pop may have invented it, but everybody’s doin’ it!

Historical Parallel – the “Road” to a Title

The Celtics’ 68-win 1972-73 season established the “bonafides” of MVP Dave Cowens as a Hall of Famer-to-be. However, despite the super-human (and one-armed) efforts of John Havlicek, fourth-year Coach Tom Heinsohn’s boys fell short in an ECF Game 7 at the old Garden to a battle-tested band of Knicks.

The following season, the C’s win total dropped to 56, second in the league to Kareem’s Bucks, whom they’d meet and beat in the 1974 Finals. (Milwaukee’s squad had been constructed by former Celtic Wayne Embry.)

Funny thing about those first post-Russell Celtic champions – the title clincher on May 12, 1974 was one of six games Heinie’s Heroes won AWAY from the Garden’s Lucky Leprechauns during that title run. Both at home and on the road that post-season, Boston posted a record of 6 – 3.

Breakdown of the West Coast Trip

Through 68 games, Brad’s boys have converted 3,431 of 6,780 possessions (.506), their opponents 3,327 of 6799 (.489). Additionally, Boston has earned 621 “stripes” (869 treys minus 248 missed FT’s) versus 404 (776 minus 372) for the other guys.

For the season, Boston holds a hefty 1,253 – 1,021-point edge in Points Following Turnovers … and despite their poor reputation as a rebounding team, the C’s have dug themselves but a 39-point hole (840 – 879) in Follow-up Points.

Here’s the quarterly per-game “Algebra” from the West Coast excursion. (What, no scuttlebutt from the plane ride home??)


Q1 [Bos. 25.5 – Opp. 26.3]

FG: C’s – 11.0 – 22.0, .500 / Opp – 11.0 – 20.0, .550
3FG: C’s – 2.5 – 9.3, .270 / Opp – 2.0 – 6.0, .333
3PAr: C’s – .420 / Opp – .300
FT: C’s – 1.0 – 1.3, .800 [0.5] / Opp – 2.3 – 2.8, .818 [1.3]
TO: C’s – 3.0 [-3.8 pts] / Opp – 4.5 [-5.8 pts]
OR: C’s – 0.5 + 0.5 (team) [+0.5 pts] / Opp – 1.0 + 0.0 (team) [+2.0 pts]
DR: C’s – 8.3 + 0.3 (team) / Opp – 10.0 + 0.0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24.5 / Opp – 24.8
CV%: C’s – 11.5 / 24.5, .469 / Opp – 12.3 / 24.8, .495

Summative Equation:

Bos – 11.5 Conversions + [+2.3 “Stripes”] {2.5 treys “minus” 0.3 missed FT’s “equals” 2.3 stripes}
Opp – 12.3 Conversions + [+1.5 “Stripes”] {2.0 treys “minus” 0.5 missed FT’s “equals” 1.5 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- -0.8 Conversions + [+0.8 Stripes] = C’s lose by 0.8 points
Actual Score: Boston 25.5, Opponent 26.3


Q2 [Bos. 31.5 – Opp. 25.3]

FG: C’s – 12.3 – 22.0, .557 / Opp – 8.5 – 20.5, .415
3FG: C’s – 3.8 – 8.3, .455 / Opp – 3.0 – 7.8, .387
3PAr: C’s – .375 / Opp – .378
FT: C’s – 3.3 – 4.0, .813 [1.8] / Opp – 5.3 – 6.5, .818 [3.0]
TO: C’s – 4.8 [-6.5 pts] / Opp – 6.0 [-9.0 pts]
OR: C’s – 1.5 + 0.8 (team) [+2.5 pts] / Opp – 3.0 + 0.5 (team) [+3.3 pts]
DR: C’s – 8.8 + 0.3 (team) / Opp – 7.0 + 0.3 (team)
Poss: C’s – 26.3 / Opp – 26.0
CV%: C’s – 14.0 / 26.3, .533 / Opp – 11.5 / 26.0, .442

Summative Equation:

Bos – 14.0 Conversions + [+3.0 “Stripes”] {3.8 treys “minus” 0.8 missed FT’s “equals” 3.0 stripes}
Opp – 11.5 Conversions + [+1.8 “Stripes”] {3.0 treys “minus” 1.3 missed FT’s “equals” 1.8 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- +2.5 Conversions + [+1.3 Stripes] = C’s win by 6.3 points
Actual Score: Boston 31.5, Opponent 25.3


Q3 [Bos. 34.3 – Opp. 31.0]

FG: C’s – 13.0 – 24.3, .536 / Opp – 11.8 – 22.5, .522
3FG: C’s – 5.3 – 10.5, .500 / Opp – 2.3 – 8.0, .281
3PAr: C’s – .433 / Opp – .356
FT: C’s – 3.0 – 4.3, .706 [2.0] / Opp – 5.3 – 6.5, .808 [2.8]
TO: C’s – 3.8 [-4.3 pts] / Opp – 4.3 [-6.3 pts]
OR: C’s – 1.0 + 0.8 (team) [+1.3 pts] / Opp – 2.3 + 0.3 (team) [+3.5 pts]
DR: C’s – 8.0 + 0.5 (team) / Opp – 9.3 + 0.5 (team)
Poss: C’s – 27.3 / Opp – 27.0
CV%: C’s – 15.0 / 27.3, .550 / Opp – 14.5 / 27.0, .537

Summative Equation:

Bos – 15.0 Conversions + [+4.0 “Stripes”] {5.3 treys “minus” 1.3 missed FT’s “equals” 4.0 stripes}
Opp – 14.5 Conversions + [+1.0 “Stripes”] {2.3 treys “minus” 1.3 missed FT’s “equals” 1.0 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- +0.5 Conversions + [+3.0 Stripes] = C’s win by 4.0 points
Actual Score: Boston 34.3, Opponent 31.0


Q4 [Bos. 27.3 – Opp. 30.3]

FG: C’s – 9.0 – 21.5, .419 / Opp – 11.5 – 22.8, .505
3FG: C’s – 2.3 – 7.3, .310 / Opp – 2.5 – 8.0, .313
3PAr: C’s – .337 / Opp – .352
FT: C’s – 7.0 – 8.3, .848 [3.5] / Opp – 4.8 – 6.3, .760 [2.0]
TO: C’s – 3.0 [-3.3 pts] / Opp – 3.3 [-1.5 pts]
OR: C’s – 3.3 + 0.5 (team) [+4.3 pts] / Opp – 2.3 + 1.3 (team) [+4.5 pts]
DR: C’s – 7.0 + 1.3 (team) / Opp – 9.3 + 0.3 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24.3 / Opp – 24.5
CV%: C’s – 12.5 / 24.3, .515 / Opp – 13.5 / 24.5, .551

Summative Equation:

Bos – 12.5 Conversions + [+1.0 “Stripes”] {2.3 treys “minus” 1.3 missed FT’s “equals” 1.0 stripes}
Opp – 13.5 Conversions + [+1.0 “Stripes”] {2.5 treys “minus” 1.5 missed FT’s “equals” 1.0 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- -1.0 Conversions + [0.0 Stripes] = C’s lose by 2.0 points
Actual Score: Boston 27.3, Opponent 30.3


Full Game [Bos. 118.5 – Opp. 112.8]

FG: C’s – 45.3 – 89.8, .504 / Opp – 42.8 – 85.8, .499
3FG: C’s – 13.8 – 35.3, .390 / Opp – 9.8 – 29.8, .328
3PAr: C’s – .393 / Opp – .347
FT: C’s – 14.3 – 17.8, .803 [7.8] / Opp – 17.5 – 22.0, .795 [9.0]
TO: C’s – 13.5 [-16.8 pts] / Opp – 18.0 [-22.5 pts]
OR: C’s – 6.3 + 2.5 (team) [+8.5 pts] / Opp – 8.5 + 2.0 (team) [+13.3 pts]
DR: C’s – 32.0 + 2.3 (team) / Opp – 35.5 + 1.0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 102.3 / Opp – 102.3
CV%: C’s – 53.0 / 102.3, .518 / Opp – 51.8 / 102.3, .506

Summative Equation:

Bos – 53.0 Conversions + [+10.3 “Stripes”] {13.8 treys “minus” 3.5 missed FT’s “equals” 10.3 stripes}
Opp – 51.8 Conversions + [+5.3 “Stripes”] {9.8 treys “minus” 4.5 missed FT’s “equals” 5.3 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- +1.3 Conversions + [+5.0 Stripes] = C’s win by 7.5 points
Actual Score: Boston 118.5, Opponent 112.8


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

Abacus Reveals 3/14/2019 03:40:00 PM Edit
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