The “Algebra” of a fast-breaking Celtic pre-season

In their measly (by choice, I presume) 96 minutes of “exhibition” prep-work, a Boston Celtic opponent misfired on a “live ball” free-throw attempt five times … a teammate of the shooter retrieved THREE of those misses.

Yikes! One of the few things left in the game that provides the Defense with a built-in advantage, and Brad’s boys found a way to bungle it – kinda how things went last week against two presumed rivals. Little wonder as to why we held a lead for only 7:11 over two games … all in Q1.

And here’s a “Yuck!” to accompany that “Yikes!”

In Friday’s “effort” against Brooklyn, the C’s got clobbered to the tune of 20-4 on Fast Break points … despite each side having exactly 10 FB opportunities and exactly nine FB FGA’s. Alas, the Nets shot 7-for-9 (3-for-4 on treys) compared to Boston’s atrocious 1-for-9 (0-for-6) showing.

The Stevens Crew had operated their up-tempo game much more efficiently against Doc Rivers and his Sixers in the opener, converting seven of their eight opportunities, shooting 6-for-7 (0-for-1) and outscoring Philly 14-11. (The 76ers managed only six FB’s, five of them productive.)

So, Just What “Triggers” a Fast Break?

Over the course of two “tune-up” games, 34 of the (by my count) 414 “possessions” are classified as Fast Breaks by the NBA’s own statistical “Gamebook” … roughly one out of every 12 scoring opportunities.

Nearly half these break-outs were initiated by an officially acknowledged/credited “Steal” … two-thirds (10-of-15) of these forays resulted in a “conversion.” When a Defensive Rebound triggered an FB, a conversion was equally likely (11-for-18). Only one FB came on the heels of a successful shot, when Tremont Waters set up Rob Williams for a point-blank look early in Q4 of the Sixer match-up.

The opposition converted 13 of 16 FB’s (.813), compared to just under half their overall possessions (102-for-206). The C’s batted .500 (9-for-18) on the run, just .423 (88-for-208) overall.

3FG’s Create Long Rebounds?

Astonishingly, the Celts, Sixers and Nets combined to MISS a collective 106 three-point shots, more than one per minute of play – what’s perhaps even more surprising is that only 11 of those off-target ICBM’s led to an FB.

Not at all shocking is that NINE of those run-outs resulted in a conversion.

Abacus Revelation for the Road

In the 49 scrimmage games Silver & Associates provided to their media partners, players attempted 8,564 shots (87.4 per game) of which 3,695 (37.7 pg) were three-pointers – a 3PAr (i.e. usage rate) of .431.

When the 2019-20 season was interrupted in March, league-wide 3PAr was .382, an all-time high.

In last summer’s bubble during the 33 scrimmages, 3PAr was .420.

During the 88 “seeding” games, 3PAr was .405.

During the 83 playoff games, 3PAr was .427.

“Live by the Three, Die by the Three” is not only alive and well … but running rampant, I daresay.

Nonetheless (and in my very best “Ed Norton” voice), Happy Yuletide, everyone … and stay safe!!