Celtics awaken, blow out Nets in 1st quarter & hang on / Green Stats

Deciphering the Celtics

Brad Stevens tweaked the Cs' starting lineup for Monday's game in Brooklyn, NY — and it worked. Boston put together a truly spectacular first quarter (with efficiency ratings through the roof — see below), and then held the Nets at bay to the end.

Crowder was fierce on both ends, finishing with a game-high 25 points on 8-13 shooting, plus 3 steals, defensive turnovers, hustle... you name it. Thomas had his normal solid game, Amir went 6-7 and both Turner and Sullinger had double-doubles.Most noticeable of all was the tight defense they all played through most of the contest.

This game featured the most incomprehensible call of the season: a so-called 'double-dribble' on Evan Turner. (You gotta see it to believe it.)

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


Cs' Off. & Def. Efficiency Ratings vs. Brooklyn Nets – Jan 4 2016:


Cs’ Offensive Rating for this game = 111.0 (pts scored per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the #3 offense in the NBA this season.
  • Can you guess the Cs' Offensive Rating in the 1st quarter? 143.2. The Def.Rtg. was 85.1. 'Unreal' doesn't do this justice.
  • Prior to this game, BKN's defense was rated #22 in the league (Def.Rtg. = 107.2) — bad.
  • Versus the Cs, BKN's D performed like the #30 defense in the league (Def.Rtg. = 111.0) — worse than the worst.
Cs’ Defensive Rating for this game = 101.3 (pts allowed per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the league's #5 defense this season.
  • Considering the quality of offense they faced, 101.3/#5 is not great. The Nets mostly got there in the 4th quarter, when they made several tough shots.
  • Coming into this game, the Nets' offense was rated #28 in the league (Off.Rtg. = 100.9) — very bad.
  • The Cs' D held BKN's O to a level equivalent to the league's #28 offense (Off.Rtg. = 101.3) — right around their season average.
Pace: Each team had 93 possessions – significantly slower than the Cs' season average (98.3 – #4 in NBA). League average = 95.7/game.

Referees: Grade: C. Observations: There was 1 egregiously bad referee error noted. The officiating crew of Brian Forte (#45), Nick Buchert (#3), and Tyler Ford (#39) did a generally poor-to-mediocre job in this one, as their whistles too often blew randomly, with several head-scratching no-calls, and inconsistent treatment of touch 'fouls' vs. hard contact. I.e., too much random refereeing.
  • At 0:01.7 of the 2nd quarter, referee Nick Buchert (#3) whistled Evan Turner for a "double dribble" that was completely mystifying. Per the video, the only thing that happened on the play was that ET momentarily lost control of the ball. When he regained it, Buchert called the "double dribble." He must have been out of his mind. There is no other explanation.
  • P.S. That 3rd quarter "jump ball" call when Marcus Smart lunged onto the ball Donald Sloan was dog-walking – was pretty ridiculous. Sloan managed to touch the ball for less than half a second as Marcus grabbed it, and Sloan obviously never had a hand "firmly on the ball" (the language of the 'held ball' rule). It was a clean steal, period.

Where do the Celtics stand now?


After the Nets game...
  • Offensive Rating = 104.2 — #18 in NBA. (Range: #15-to-#21 in an extremely tight field.)
  • Defensive Rating = 100.2 — #2 in NBA.
  • Net Rating = +4.0 — #5 in NBA. (Up from +3.85, #5.)
A full analysis of the Celtics' current situation (as of Jan 1) appears here.
  • Updates: The Net OARs' trend line is still pointing down, but the slope of the Offensive OARs' trend line is now positive again — for the full season and for the last 10 games. (The trend of the offensive ratings is most significant, as it indicates whether or not the Cs' offense is improving. If the offense does not improve between now and April — the Celtics have no chance in the playoffs.)
That's better...

Notes & Ruminations:

  • Interesting new starting lineup, with Olynyk in for Sully, and both Turner and Thomas in the backcourt (with Avery out d/t bruised hip). Looks like Brad Stevens decided to go with maximum offense to start the game. It couldn't have worked better.
  • We saw a much more aggressive, more energetic and more INTENSE Celtics team this time. (But why does it take two embarrassing losses to get there?)
  • Best stat of the night for the Cs: only 7 turnovers in the game. And the actual number is 6 — because that double-dribble call on Turner was nuts.
  • The Celts have three Grade-A-1 top-shelf WARRIORS on the roster — Thomas, Smart and Crowder. You gotta love these guys. They give everything they've got on every.... single.... possession.
  • One notch below those Amazing Three is Evan Turner, who also consistently works his butt off.
  • Some vexing vexations from this game:
    • Cs' defensive rebounding was, at times, horrible. On more than one play, the Nets were able to get up to FOUR shots on a single possession. That can't happen.
    • Too many missed layups and bunnies — again.
    • David Lee did not play. Hmmm. Can't say anyone should be unhappy about that (other than David). (But WTH is this team gonna do with that contract??)
  • Detroit's next, Wednesday at TD Garden. If the Cs can clean up their defensive rebounding and get some layup drills in — who knows, they might get another streak going. Anything's possible with this team.

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 +...

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