How the C's are overcoming their poor defense

Courtney Lee is shooting 60% from 16-23 ft.
The Celtics are struggling defensively so far this season, allowing 101.1 points per game (last year they gave up just 89.3 PPG).  In fact, it's so bad that the team's home page currently features an article entitled "Are the Celts Experiencing an Identity Crisis?"

However, the offense is picking up some of the slack.  Most of the credit seems to be given to the spectacular play of Rajon Rondo, who has the C's ranked second in the league in assists with 24.3 per game (the Spurs are averaging 24.6).  But there's another significant factor that is frequently overlooked: Boston is really really good at shooting the ball.

The obvious stat is FG%, the Celtics are shooting 47.8% on the season, which ties them with San Antonio for 3rd in the NBA (Miami 49.4%, OKC 47.9%).  Boston is averaging 37.5 made field goals per game, 6th highest in the league.  But, their 78.5 FGs attempted per game ranks 26th; so clearly they are making the most of their shot attempts.  For the year the C's have scored exactly 1 basket less than their opponents, but they have done it while taking 38 fewer shots.

What makes these numbers even more impressive is where Boston is shooting from.  According to, 71% of the Celtics shots are jumpers, 3% more than their opponents.  On these jump shots, Boston has an eFG% (field goal percentage weighted for three pointers) of 48.4%, their opposition just 42.5%. also indicates that the Celtics take 30.8% of their shots from 16-23 feet, the second most of any team in the league (Bulls 32.1%).

What does it all mean?  The C's offense is among the league leaders in shooting, despite putting up some of the most difficult shots.

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