Boston's offense exposed without Kyrie, held to 80 points against 76ers
The Boston Celtics have not been known for their offense in this 2017-18 season. They've been grinding out wins with their defense and grit, but their work on the offensive end hasn't been doing them any favors.
Boston averages the 22nd most points per game in the NBA with a nightly average of 102.4. Their 44.3% field goal percentage is the third worst in the association, while their 104.3 offensive rating is right in the middle of the pack. All of this with their All-Star point guard and elite scorer, Kyrie Irving.
The thing is, though, is that the Celtics offense always turns ice cold when Irving isn't on the floor. Their offense is obviously expected to be worse without their primary scoring option, but it's an alarming dip in production that raises eyebrows. Their loss to the Philadelphia 76er's last night revealed this fact yet again, as the C's put up a season-low 80 points as Irving watched from the sideline with a sore shoulder:
10 lowest scoring games for the Celtics this year, not surprisingly, include all four games the Celtics have played without Kyrie.
You will notice that all four games in which Kyrie has sat out are included on this notorious list. Ironically, Boston has won six of the games in which they've had their 10 lowest scoring outputs, attesting to their No. 1 defense, but still. There's clearly an unsustainable lack of offense without Irving. To highlight that, let's look at the team's stats with him on and off the court.
When Irving has been on the court for the Celtics this season, the team has had a 108.1 offensive rating. This mark would be good for the 8th best offense in the NBA. Without him, the Celts fall to a 97.5 offensive rating, which would by far be the worst rating of all 30 teams:
Removing Irving's shot creating from the offense leaves the Celtics scrambling for answers. Against the Sixers last night, they were sloppy, unaggressive, and simply going through the motions far too often. Points were not going to come that easy without Kyrie's 24-point and five-assist average contributions.
Brad Stevens admitted that his unit needs to have more energy and urgency on that end of the court when they don't have Irving:
Brad Stevens says the team didn't play hard enough on offense and was too sloppy. Says that with Kyrie out, the team should have understood it needed to play harder.
The Celtics just don't have many shot creators when the Duke alum (and Gordon Hayward, of course) isn't out there. The other Duke alum, rookie Jayson Tatum, has proven that he will be an elite shot-maker in the NBA. In fact, he sort of already has been to a degree. However, Boston shouldn't realistically expect the teenager to carry their offense any more than he has been.
Without Kyrie Irving or a sense of urgency and aggressiveness on offense, the Celtics had their worst output of the years against the Sixers, and it only further emphasized their need to figure out how to get the ball in the hoop without Kyrie.