Celtics' defense disappears in ugly Garden loss / Green Stats

Deciphering the Celtics

You wouldn't have thought the Celtics were a defense-first team if you were watching Kobe's farewell game at TD Garden on Wednesday night. For 3.5 quarters, the Cs allowed the Lakers to do pretty much whatever they felt like doing. As if defense wasn't required against that kind of team.

It looked like the Green had peeked at LA's season record and decided they could win this one by just showing up. (That is SO wrong in so many ways...) The vaunted Cs D only showed up late in the 4th quarter — and, as often happens when hubris replaces hustle, it was too-little-too-late. Stuff happens. Guys hit tough shots. Refs make mistakes. Kobe hits daggers. Stuff.

Celtics deserved to lose this game. They played like crap through most of it. Hubris has no place on the hardwood. (Certainly not for this team, at this stage!)

Here are details on the game, and where the club stands now...


Cs' Off. & Def. Efficiency Ratings vs. LA Lakers – Dec 30 2015:


Cs’ Offensive Rating for this game = 105.7 (pts scored per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the #8 offense in the NBA this season. Of course, they were playing the worst defense in the league. So... not as impressive as you might think.
  • Prior to this game, LAL's defense was rated #30 in the league (Def.Rtg. = 111.2) — dead last.
  • Versus the Cs, LAL's D performed like the #18 defense in the league (Def.Rtg. = 105.7) — a big improvement for them.
Cs’ Defensive Rating for this game = 113.9 (pts allowed per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the league's #30 defense this season. I.e., worse than the worst. They crapped the bed.
  • Coming into this game, the Lakers' offense was rated #29 in the league (Off.Rtg. = 99.8) — very bad.
  • The Cs let LAL's O perform at a level equivalent to the NBA's #2 offense (Off.Rtg. = 113.9). So LA went from #29 to #2. In one night. How'do ya like dem apples?
Pace: Each team had 98 possessions – ~equal to the Cs' season average (98.3 – #4 in NBA). League average = 95.8/game.

Referees: Grade: B. Observations: There were 2 bad mistakes noted, both in the 4th quarter. The officiating crew of Mike Callahan (#24), Haywoode Workman (#66), and Brent Barnaky (#70) otherwise did a pretty good job.
  • At ~7:11 of the 4th quarter, Haywoode Workman (#66) whistled a foul on Evan Turner as he was guarding Kobe shooting from the left corner. The foul was called because Kobe fell down after the shot — but he fell because he flopped, not because he was hit. (Also, he flailed his legs: a no-no.) Replay showed that Turner was extraordinarily careful NOT to foul Kobe, standing away from the play. (Lakers were up 6 pts at the time, and Kobe hit both FTs.)
  • Less than a minute later, at ~6:30 of the 4th quarter, Isaiah Thomas was SLAMMED about the head and shoulders by D'Angelo Russell as IT drove down the middle of the lane, resulting in a turnover. Russell was so sure he'd fouled Isaiah that he actually stopped playing waiting for the whistle, and never ran up the floor for the breakaway. No call.

Where do the Celtics stand now?


After the Lakers game...
  • Offensive Rating = 104.1 — #19 in NBA (range: #16–#20 in a very tight field).
  • Defensive Rating = 100.1 — #2 in NBA.
  • Net Rating = +4.1 — #5 in NBA.
Note: A full review and analysis of the Celtics' current situation and their chances of making any noise in the playoffs is scheduled to appear here on January 1.


Notes & Ruminations:

  • What a lousy, forgettable game. What's hard to understand is how a team so... borderline.... could find the hubris to ignore a competitor like they did through most of this one. Ugh.
  • Cs did something similar with Philly, if you recall, back on Nov 25, just barely winning that game. This one was worse.
  • Marcus Smart — we loves ya. Hope your back's OK. Great play, though. Great.
  • Evan Turner was a bright spot. There weren't many. Bradley and Crowder went 3-16 shooting 3s. Amir Johnson totally checked out of this one, on both ends of the floor. Olynyk was particularly awful — his fouling is out of control. And sometimes, he just checks out, starts standing around till someone blows a 3-second violation or something. Smh.
  • Nets are next, Saturday at the Garden. Will the Cs look past them too? Who knows.
  • Cya next year.

Green Stats runs after Celtics games, right here, usually within ~ 1 to 20 hours of the final horn. Note: Some posts will be (much) longer than others, and some games may be skipped altogether.
Efficiency ratings source for comps: Basketball-reference.com. Misc: RealGM.com. (Note: Our formulas for pace and ratings are similar to those used by these sites, and most others. NBA.com's numbers will differ somewhat, as they use different formulas.)

For an intro to the advanced stats used here in Green Stats, see: Green Stats: Intro to advanced stats +...

Photo: Jim Davis/Globe

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