On the heels of an up-and-down, angst-inducing opening six weeks of play – and apparently inspired by the feisty impatience of team leader Marcus Smart –Brad Stevens’s bodacious ballers, in a span of less than 30 hours this weekend, have begun to resemble the dominant unit that entered the season to a now-muffled cacophony of hype and fanfare.
Through 96 minutes of basketball battle, Boston out-converted the other guys 106 – 96, about one additional successful possession per quarter. But what got the “bad guys” to waving their white flags of surrender kinda early was the C’s advantage in what I’ve taken to calling “striping” – the impact of the “Charity” and “Three-point” Stripes.
The Celtics augmented the 10-possession edge they’d earned through the “flow” of play by tacking on 31 “stripes” (34 treys minus only 3 missed FT’s) compared to the opposition’s puny total of THREE (16 treys, 13 missed FT’s) – the equivalent of 14 more conversions.
The formula for a couple of Blow-outs.
During last season’s 55-win Magic Carpet Ride, the Celtics compiled 550 “stripes” (6.71 per game, No. 8 in the league) while yielding 355 (4.33 per game, No. 5). Boston’s +2.38 point-per-game differential in “Striping” ranked fifth-best in the Association – behind Houston (+4.68), Brooklyn (+4.00), Toronto (+3.92), and GSW (+2.48).
Through this season’s first 42 playing dates (as of last Tues.), the Stevens Crew, disappointing break from the gate notwithstanding, stands No. 2 in Striping Differential. Let’s have a glance at the Quarter-season’s Top Ten in this Aba-Metric (2017-18 final rank in parentheses):