By the end of the ’21-22 season, the Boston Celtics were utilizing what had been deemed the Association’s stoutest defense to come within two victories of a championship.
Who’d have “thunk” that, through four days and 27 games of this new season, the unbeaten C’s would be sitting atop the charts in FG% (.540) while wallowing at No. 19 in FG defense (.477).
By my count, through two games Coach Joe’s crew has connected on 87 FG’s and earned 19 trips to the FT stripe – that’s 106 conversions in 189 offensive possessions, a conversion percentage of .561 (compared to the opposition, which has 98 conversions in 190 tries, .516).
Coach Mazzulla’s boys were perfect a 15-for-15 from the charity stripe in Friday’s 111-104 victory in South Beach – the only NBA outfit to have turned that little trick so far this season. The team has made 17 consecutive FT’s, 22 of their last 23. [To date, five squads have missed 10 or more FT’s in a single game – the Clippers and Spurs have even managed to win while doing so.]
Against the Sixers in the opener, the C’s were an uncanny 12-for-14 from the “Mid-range” (i.e. outside the “Paint” but inside the “Arc.”). Against the Heat last night, they attempted just four shots from that area, making only one. [The opposition, 19-for-33, have likewise been reasonably accurate from that zone through two games.]
Early Areas for Concern?
A blemish on the opening of Boston’s season has been the issue of Turnovers (20 last night in Miami). Boston currently ranks No. 23 in both committing and forcing miscues (the J-team and Mr. Smart accounting for nearly 60% of the TO’s) – despite ranking in the bottom five when it comes to Pace of Play.
I should note, however, that Boston has scored 40 points off 24 opponent TO’s while yielding just 38 points off their 31 errors.
Then there’s the matter of shot distribution – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have combined to attempt over half (84 of 161) of Boston’s FGA’s. [They’ve also taken 21 of the team’s 43 FTA’s.]
Of course, it should also be noted that the J-men are accounting for over half of the team’s point production (127 of 237).
Abacus Revelation for the Road
Grant Williams has missed only two of 11 FGA’s so far, both three-pointers.