Celtics STEALing the spotlight, Jae Crowder leading the way
The Celtics are having a slow start to the 2015 season, but one part of their game that hasn't lagged behind is their ability to force turnovers. Against the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Celtics piled up the steals, accruing 18 by the final buzzer.
Boston's burglary of the Wizards wasn't just impressive in the scheme of this season, but also one of their strongest performances in years:
Celtics finish with season-high 18 steals tonight. That's just the second time they have done that in a game since 2009.
Boston was otherworldly at swiping the ball and Jae Crowder was the center of it all, leading the way with five steals on the night. After that performance, you might be able to label Crowder as a basketball kleptomaniac. Currently, he's averaging 3.0 steals per game, which is good for best in the league. His aggressive contributions have also put the Celtics on the top of the team charts in steals as they sit atop the league with 11.8 steals per game, or one more than the 7-and-1 Atlanta Hawks.
So where do the Celtics go from here? They will just have to continue their domination of opposing offenses and helpless coaches.
Randy Wittman was having a really tough time during the fourth quarter after the Celtics snagged their 17th steal. After all, it must be demoralizing to other teams. Via Scott Souza of the Worcester Telegram, Jae Crowder said:
You can only imagine somebody taking your candy every time you come down the court... It’s just nagging. You try to keep it tough on the guys and not let them feel comfortable in their offense. We have to keep doing it on a nightly basis.
And the Celtics will try to do it on a nightly basis. Head coach Brad Stevens believes that the C's will be able to replicate performances like these. Also from Souza, Stevens said:
We were really solid being in the right spot when the other team was trying to make a play late in the [shot] clock, then all of a sudden you get your hands on a ball. To me, those are the ones that are transferable game to game.
The turnovers which led to fastbreak buckets on the other end helped jump the offense into gear. Suddenly, a team that averaged the fewest points in the first quarter through the first four games scored 40 points in the first 12 minutes on Friday night. As the old saying goes: the best offense is a good defense.
Topher Lane is on Twitter, @Topher_L. He strongly advises picking up Jae Crowder in fantasy basketball if you need steals. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa