Celtics win zombie war / Green Stats analysis: Cs-Hawks Nov 13

This game was ugly in the first half. The Cs seemed zombied-out, strangely unable to get the basketball into the round hole. To their credit, the boys in green rallied — slowly, mind you... gradually... as the minutes and quarters dragged on. Finally, at around the middle of the 3rd period, the Cs found their game and started grinding their way to the win.

Ultimately, both offense and defense performed well for the Cs against a tough (strangely emotionless) Atlanta squad. The question is begged: Why does it take the Celtics SO LONG to get going — in every game?

Cs' Offensive & Defensive Efficiency Ratings vs. ATL – Nov 11 2015:
Cs’ Offensive Rating for this game = 111.8 (pts scored per 100 possessions) — equivalent to #3 in the NBA this season (and #6 last season). Yes, the number looks good. But it should have been even better, given the ASTOUNDING difference between the Celts' number of scoring attempts (103) and the Hawks' (76) — created mostly by the Cs' superior offensive rebounding (17-5) and forced turnovers (17-10). Had they not been zombified in the first half, the Cs would have (should have) won this one in a blowout.
  • Hawks had the NBA's #6 defense last season. Prior to this game, ATL's D was rated #13 in the league (DefRtg = 102.6). The Cs' offense made the Hawks' defense look like #30 in the NBA. Yep: the worst.
  • The Cs struggled to score early on, which is when they accumulated many of their missed shots. But in the second half they found ways to get some easy points, and, most important — they took care of the ball. Only 10 Celtics turnovers in the game.

Cs’ Defensive Rating for this game = 98.1 (pts allowed per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the league's #6 defense this season (#1 last season).
  • ATL's offense last season averaged 108.9 pts/100 possessions, #6 in the NBA. Coming into the Cs game, their offense was rated #5 in the league (107.0 Off.Rtg.).
  • The Cs' defense allowed ATL a lot of easy scores. The reason the defensive rating looks so good for the Cs has a lot to do with the turnovers they forced and the defensive rebounds they grabbed. I.e., this was a grind-out, gutsy win by a hustling Green crew determined not to lose.

Pace: Each team had 95 possessions – a bit slower than current league average (97.2.). Cs are currently averaging 99.3 possessions/game, ~7th in the league.

So where do the Cs stand now?
- Before this game, the Celtics' Defensive Rating was #5 in the league, with 98.0 pts allowed/100-possessions. (Note: That would have easily been #1 last season.)
- After this game, the Def.Rtg. remains 98.0 — ~#5 in the NBA.
- [The Spurs have the league's best Def.Rtg. right now @ 96.1; the Pelicans' D is at the bottom @ 111.8. League average = 103.8.]

- The Cs' overall Offensive Rating for this season now stands at 102.4 pts/100-possessions — #21 in the league. (It took a big hit in the Pacers game, prior to which they were #15. Oh well.)
- [Golden State leads the league in Off.Rtg. @ 114.2; MEM is at the bottom with 95.7. League average = 103.8.]

And how are they trending?
The grind-out nature of this win should gladden the hearts of Cs fans. Any team that can win these kinds of tough zombie battles is probably doing okay. The numbers say that the defense is still elite, and that the offense still struggles, especially early in games.

Quick Notes:
- Isaiah started this game looking like the Cs' Head Zombie. Couldn't hit the ocean from a boat. Little children ran from the Garden in horror. But he slowly improved — first in the second quarter, then a bit more in the second part of the 3rd quarter, and then on through a closeout 4th, when he finally shined.

- Brad: Please put IT back in the 2nd unit. It's time.

- Amir looked great throughout this game. And there was a Zeller sighting (he played well on offense in limited minutes).

- The True Shooting %s (TS%) of Jerebko, Amir and Sully all hover within ~3% of 60%. (For reference, league leaders last season got to ~69%.) Lee, Thomas and Olynyk range between 50.9% and 52.9%, while Crowder, Turner, Bradley and Hunter are all between 47.2 and 48.8. Smart = 44.6%, and Rozier is a ridiculous 18.8% (but with only 44 minutes PT). (Source: NBA.com)
    Note: TS% is an excellent all-encompassing scoring stat: it accounts for both 3pt attempts and FTs, along with standard 2pt shots.

- Cs looked good in the 2nd half of this game, playing against a team that could be #2 in the East. The next two tilts, against a couple of very tough West teams, should tell us much about where they stand right now.

Green Stats runs an analysis of each Celtics game, usually within ~ 1 to 20 hours after the final horn.
Note: Some posts will be (much) longer than others.

(Efficiency ratings source for comps: Basketball-reference.com.)

Connect with DRJ on Twitter @DRJ_CsNStats

Peace to our friends across the pond.