Something strange happened in Memphis / Green Stats

Deciphering the Celtics

For now, all we can say is that the Cs' OFFENSE performed well overall, but the DEFENSE was worse than league worst. Also, the first half was dramatically different from the second.

The combination of good O and extremely poor D has happened only 5 prior times this season -- 4 of which were cases of multiple egregious referee errors. (We are withholding judgment on this contest until the official review results can be posted. The game is recorded and will be examined soon.)

Note that Brad Stevens reported an excellent practice session prior to this game. That could be why the offense performed as well as it did. But why would the defense disappear, per the numbers? Did the Cs really forget how to defend? The extremely unusual intra-game numbers here may give us a hint. (See below.)

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


Cs' Off. & Def. Efficiency Ratings vs. Memphis – January 10 2016:


Cs’ Offensive Rating for this complete game = 107.0 (pts scored per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the #7 offense in the NBA this season. Pretty good, overall. But…
  • The first half results for the Cs were spectacular. Their Offensive Rating was 112.3 in those first 2 quarters -- the equivalent of #2 in the NBA -- while the Defensive Rating was 80.8, far better than the league's best D this season.
  • As you might imagine, the 2nd half must have been pretty poor to make the Cs' overall D as extremely bad as it ended up. In fact, both offensive and defensive numbers got DRAMATICALLY, CATASTROPHICALLY worse in the latter quarters -- all the way down to #30 in the league -- with Off.Rtg. = 86.8 and Def.Rtg. = 121.5 for the half. Those are crazy, unbelievably bad numbers. Cs went from playing at the league's highest level in the first half, to much worse than it's lowest level in the second -- on both sides of the court. That's never happened before. Strange goings-on in Memphis.
  • Prior to this game, MEM's defense was rated #15 in the league (Def.Rtg. = 104.7) — mediocre.
  • Versus the Cs, MEM's D performed like the #22 defense in the league (Def.Rtg. = 107.0).
Cs’ Defensive Rating for this complete game = 110.3 (pts allowed per 100 possessions) — equivalent to the league's #30 defense this season. Unusual for this team...
  • Coming into this game, the Grizzlies' offense was rated #27 in the league (Off.Rtg. = 101.9) — very weak. And yet, the Cs couldn't defend them in the 2nd half, after shutting them down in the first. Huh?
  • In the game as a whole, the Cs' D allowed MEM's O to perform at a level equivalent to the league's #4 offense (Off.Rtg. = 110.3) -- much better than their season average.
Pace: Each team had 92 possessions – much slower than the Cs' season average (98.0 – #4 in NBA). League average = 95.6/game.


Where do the Celtics stand now?


After the Grizzlies game...
  • Offensive Rating = 103.8 — ~#21 in NBA.
  • Defensive Rating = 100.5 — #2 in NBA.
  • Net Rating = +3.2 — #8 in NBA. (Down from +3.4, #7.)
A full analysis of the Celtics' situation (as of Jan 1) appears here -- and there has been no significant change since its last update on Jan 8, here.



  • We've seen the Cs' offense collapse before, but we've never seen both the offense and defense disintegrate as suddenly and severely as they did in this game, between the first half and the second. Something strange happened.
  • We'll examine the video to try to solve the mystery, and post the results here ASAP. Meanwhile, if you saw anything that stood out, put it in a comment.

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: Misc: (Note: Our formulas for pace and efficiency ratings are similar to those used by these sites, and most others.'s numbers will differ, as they use different formulas.)

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

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