After shattering the franchise record for threes in a game, Celtics will continue letting it fly
As of Thursday morning, the most three-pointers a Celtics team has ever made in a single game was 19. In their victory over the Bucks last night, Boston cruised right by that record on their way to net 24 total threes in the game. In other words, they broke the three-point mark by more than a 25% margin.
Led by Kyrie Irving's six treys, Marcus Morris' five, and Al Horford's four, the Celts rode the three-ball all night long.
It's a trend that the whole league has caught onto. If you look at three-point shooting at a league-wide level, team level, or individual level, every record is being re-broken. Boston's 24 threes are tied for the second most ever in a game, a mark that the Splash Bros and Swedish Larry Bird (can we still call him that?) helped Golden State reach just two days before the Celtics did:
Not only had two years ago, no team ever made 24 3's in a game.
Entering this week, it had only happened five times in the first 39 years of the 3-point shot.
Many would argue that, despite the win and the awesome 43.6% three-point shooting, this much reliance on the three-ball is a dangerous sign. While I tend to agree with this, last night shouldn't be viewed like this.
For starters, Boston's offense was good all around. It wasn't good because they were merely hitting shots, it was good because they were moving the ball and finding the open man to perfection. That unselfish play allowed players to get good lucks from the outside.
Secondly, I cannot stand when this team is shooting under 20% from three and continue to throw up bricks. But the Celtics shot over 43% from three in this game! That's only one percentage point lower than their overall field goal percentage for the night. If you have multiple guys with the hot hand, by all means, shoot away!
Finally, and this is largely due to Boston's crisp movement on offense, but Milwaukee was terrible at defending the three in this contest. Although you may not want the Celtics to live or die by the three, you also have to take what the defense is giving you. On Thursday, the Celtics were slicing up the Bucks like the holes on their Cheeseheads, continuously getting open looks.
Clearly, if you have capable shooters and are moving the ball well enough to get wide open shots, taking this many shots is perfectly fine. Kyrie was asked if they took too many threes in his post-game interview, in which he highlighted this point:
"Never," Irving said. "Get 'em up. They're wide open. If they're going to play defense like that, then I don't see why not. Al (Horford) is a capable shooter I have the utmost confidence in. And then if we don't have it we have secondary actions as well that we can run. But I feel like if they're going to play that type of defense we should just shoot it every time. At one point I think Brook and John Henson were in the paint. So get 'em up. I hope we shoot 80 next game if they play defense like that."
Brad Stevens reiterated this message:
Tonight, we didn't settle as much. We still had some possessions we'd like to have back, but I thought that we took what the defense gave us. We got to the second side of the floor, and we found open shooters."
So yes, the Celtics took a historic amount of threes at TD Garden last night. But it was justified. In cases like Thursday night, you have to just let it fly!