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Admittedly, it’s risky to attach very much significance to any sports league’s pre-season “exhibition” play – that portion of the calendar exists nowadays to generate revenue and promote the teams and players … really no different from the NBA’s formative years of weeks-long barnstorming tours, just conducted on a much grander stage.

Nevertheless, these glorified scrimmages are all we’ve got, so let’s take a glance at some numbers and trends.

Official Influence

Last season, for instance, the C’s attempted 274 fewer free throws than their opponents, a differential of -3.34 per game, fourth-worst league-wide. The bad guys earned 109 more Conversions at the Free-throw Stripe (804 – 695).

In four pre-season outings, FT Converts are even at 40 and the C’s have a slight edge (90 – 86) in FTA’s.

In the matter of Turnovers, Boston averaged about 13 per game last year, its opposition just over 15 – while in four exhibitions the teams are collaborating to commit a miscue a minute. And of their 176 combined TO’s, there have been 36 ball-handling violations (travel, double dribble, discontinued dribble, even one palming call).

Marksmanship

During their home-and-home matches with Cleveland, the Celts shot .527 from the field, .424 on treys and .596 for deuces – over four games those numbers are .481, .357 and .566, respectively. (2018-19: .465, .365 and .527)

Alas, the charity stripe has been a most “foul” spot for our boys, who’ve cashed in a mere 61 of their 90 chances (.678).

Coach Stevens has had his guys clamping down at the defensive end, opponents shooting just .380 overall, .257 from distance, and .481 on two-pointers. (2018-19: .448, .344, .513)

And when it comes to usage of the three-ball, Boston attempted 140 three-pointers out of 345 total shots (.406), the other guys 148 out of 329 (.450).

Funny how we don’t even bat an eye anymore at a 3PAr above (.400). In both ends of that home-and-home, new Coach John Beilein’s Cavs were over .500.

Sparked by Carsen Edwards’s “Microwave” impersonation, the Celtics shot 15 for 19 (a perfect 7-for-7 on deuces) during last Tuesday’s Q3 – the teams collectively shot treys at a 13-for-22 (.591) clip during that segment of play. But they combined to make just 13 of 54 tries (.241) during the game’s other 36 minutes.

Board-work

In terms of Rebounding Percentages, the ’18-19 Boston Celtics were, shall we say, lower-middle class – ranked No. 24 (.216) at the offensive end, No. 18 (.770) for D-boards. (If we consider defensive Team Rebounds, opponents out-rebounded Boston by one measly carom – 3,052 – 3,051 – last year!)

For this pre-season, second-chance opportunities (nearly 15 per game) have been more plentiful compared to last year (12 per).

The Celtics ran down about seven more defensive rebounds per game than “they” did – but “they” kinda made it easy by bricking about 10 more tries a game.

Pace & Efficiency

In last year’s regular season, Boston compiled 8,178 offensive possessions (99.7 per game) and converted 4,146 (50.6 per game) for a .507 rate of conversion. Opponents had 4,043 (49.3 per) conversions out of 8,200 (100 per) possessions at a rate of .493.

The C’s conversion rate this pre-season was .505 – 51.5 “successes” out of 102 opportunities per game. Opponents have been 41.25 out of 101.5 (.406).


Pre-Season (4-game) Composite

Boston - 443

FG: C’s – 166-345, .481
3FG: C’s – 50-140, .357
FT: C’s – 61-90, .678 [40 conversions]
TS%: C’s – .545
OR: C’s – 44 + 14 (team) [minus 3 FT rebounds]
DR: C’s – 146 + 9 (team) [minus 10 FT rebounds]
TO: C’s – 80 + 2 (team)
Poss: C’s – 408 {202 “Empty”}
PPP: C’s – 1.086
CV%: C’s – 206 conversions / 408 possessions, .505
Stripes: C’s – +21 [+10.5 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: C’s – 216.5 conversions / 408, .531 {expected production, 433 points}


Opponent - 348

FG: Opp – 125-329, .380
3FG: Opp – 38-148, .257
FT: Opp – 60-86, .698 [40 conversions]
TS%: Opp – .441
OR: Opp – 40 + 17 (team) [minus 1 FT rebounds]
DR: Opp – 127 + 5 (team) [minus 13 FT rebounds]
TO: Opp – 91 + 3 (team)
Poss: Opp – 406 {241 “Empty”}
PPP: Opp – 0.857
CV%: Opp – 165 conversions / 406 possessions, .406
Stripes: Opp – +12 [+6 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: Opp – 171 conversions / 406 possessions, .421 {expected production, 342 points}


Note re Calculation & Notation:

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) – FT OR’s

“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions

“Stripes” calculation: 3FG’s – missed FTA’s

TS% = True Shooting Percentage

PPP = Points per Possession

CV% = Conversion Percentage

Also West's NBA debut

Abacus Revelation for the Road

On this date 59 years ago, Oscar Robertson launched his professional basketball career in the Cincinnati Gardens with – what else – a triple-double (21, 12, 10).

But did you know that a rather anonymous teammate by the name Bucky Bockhorn came within one assist of matching Robertson’s feat?

(Of course, who the hell knew what a triple-double was back then – maybe a base-running gaffe??)

See for yourself.

Abacus Reveals 10/19/2019 12:12:00 PM Edit
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