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Why do the Celtics chronically fail to get to the charity stripe?

Discussion in 'Mark Blount's Port Cellar: Celtics Forum' started by DeadlySplitter, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    Someone with better basketball acumen than I explain this to me. Preferably without any conspiracy theories (I hope).
     
  2. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Way too simple: they don't drive to the hoop as much as they should.
     
  3. Red Averages

    Red Averages owes you $50 SoSH Member

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    Thread.
     
  4. djbayko

    djbayko Member SoSH Member

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    In Kyrie's case, I think a lot of it is intentional. I'm sure he'd love to get more free points, but at what cost? With his size, would he still be one of the greatest finishers in the game if he wasn't taking advantage of his elusiveness to avoid contact? He ends up on the floor a lot after layups, but more often that's due to him completing an off-balance circus shot and not because of hard contact. Now, of course he's getting hit from time to time as well, but if you're constantly moving away from contact as opposed to meeting it head on, you're not going to get as many calls because the contact and its effect on your shot isn't as obvious.
     
  5. HurstSoGood

    HurstSoGood Member SoSH Member

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    My theory involves the following:
    1. The Celtics shoot a lot of 3pt shots and mid-range jumpers.
    2. Due to #1, Celtic drives/backdoor cuts are less likely to result in a foul.
    3. Kyrie's drives involve more sorcery and less blunt-force trauma.
    4. The Celtics "big men" are used more on perimeter within the offensive sets (Horford & Morris especially, less so Baynes).
    5. Their +6.6 scoring differential may mean games are not as close, which equals less hacking at the end of games? (Guess)
     
  6. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    I don’t think Kyrie avoids contact with the idea that he’s saving his body, although that may be a side effect (his injury might suggest he try another tactic). I think that as a scorer that can get to the rim thanks to his quickness and handles, but doesn’t have the explosiveness or size to just finish over taller defenders, he has to try and finish around them, which he is better at than pretty much everyone else in the NBA.
     
  7. bankshot1

    bankshot1 Member SoSH Member

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    I assume that as Tatum and Brown earn ref cred, they'll start to get some calls. KI not going to the line tonight with as many touches as he had, seems about impossible.
     
  8. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    What is interesting is looking relative to past performance of the same players.

    • Kyrie is averaging 3.7 FTA per 36 minutes. His career average is 4.7, and he was at 4.9 last year
    • Tatum is about the same as last year (0.1 FTA/36 less this year)
    • Marcus Smart is off his career average by 0.5 FTA/game, and this would be his worst year since his rookie season
    • Morris is at 3.0 FTA/36, which is right at his career pace (2.9), but a step down from his Boston year (3.8)
    • Hayward has fallen off considerably, 2.4 FTA/36 this year versus a career rate of 4.5.
    • Rozier has fallen off, from 2.6 last year to 1.9 this year
    • Brown has fallen from 3.9 last year to 3.5 this year.
    • Horford's FTA/36 have been declining since his arrival in Boston. Career 2.4, his Boston years have been 2.0 to 1.7 to 1.4 (this year)
    • Baynes, in ciontrast to the rest of the team, has seen more FTA/36. This year's 3.6 is better than his career average (3.1) and his last year rate with the C's (1.9)
    At the end of the day, mostly the same guys are here, but taking fewer FTs.
     
  9. djbayko

    djbayko Member SoSH Member

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    I'm not sure which post you were replying to, but yes, this is exactly what I was trying to say. If anything, hitting the floor isn't great for his body either. He's doing it because that's what allows him to be a prolific scorer at the rim.
     
  10. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    It is pretty simple. We don’t have personnel with these skill sets.

    If you look at Eddie’s list above we don’t have a single player who has been above average in this skill. Of the three biggest decliners you have Kyrie and Hayward being less likely to be aggressively seeking out contact coming off injuries with Horford having another ring around his tree.
     
  11. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    They were 16th free throw attempts in the league in 2017, 17th in 2016, and 12th in 2015.

    So I guess the answer to “why do the Celtics chronically fail to get to the line” is “they don't”.

    They're near the bottom this year, but still not an outlier or anything; the earlier observations that they don't drive to the hoop as much as other teams seems pretty on-point.
     
  12. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Per 100 possessions, C’s are 18th in fouls committed, 21st in fouls drawn, and 27th (!) in free-throw attempts. So modestly fewer fouls drawn than the norm, and markedly fewer free-throw attempts than the norm — just what you’d expect from a team that doesn’t try to finish strong at the basket all that often.

    The C’s are also a relatively up-tempo team. Not sure if you’d expect that to generate more fouls per possession or less — my gut says less, but I don’t know.
     
    #12 maufman, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  13. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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    Doc Rivers complained too much, so didn't get calls. Bras Stevens doesn't complain enough, so doesn't get calls. The most confusing part of the current issue is that typically in the NBA you get a big bump at home with the number of FTs attempted per game. If you look at Boston's numbers, they only attempt one more FT at home than on the road. They are 27th in the league in FTs attempted at both home and road. A few teams actually do get to the line more on the road like the Clippers, but that is out of the ordinary. LINK: https://www.teamrankings.com/nba/stat/free-throws-attempted-per-game

    While looking for this stat, I found another one made no sense. The narrative for this season's team is that they are missing too many wide open shots. In fact, the stats say the opposite. They are 2nd best in the league (2nd only to GS) at making open shots: https://stats.nba.com/teams/shots-closest-defender-10/?sort=EFG_PCT&dir=1
     
  14. chilidawg

    chilidawg Member SoSH Member

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    You're looking at the EFG% for when they're tightly covered, and that number is only for 1 FGA per game. When they're "open", they're shooting 46.8% on 23.3 FGA's per game, which is about league average. Wide open they're at 55.6% on 23 FGA per game, which again is about average. They're first and second in open and wide open FGA's, respectively.
     
  15. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    Weren't the FT numbers a positive for us when Doc was here? I felt I did work on this years ago showing how his teams did get to the line more than their opponents in Orlando, Boston, and LA......or maybe I'm getting old and dreaming things.
     
  16. JCizzle

    JCizzle Member SoSH Member

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    I was trying to verify the observations that they aren't aggressive enough. I have no idea if these numbers are worthwhile, but it looks like they're 5th worst in drives per game (Warriors worst with a few other very good teams at the bottom).

    https://stats.nba.com/teams/drives/?sort=DRIVES&dir=1

    Also second worst % of points in the paint. Warriors are the worst. Probably helps when you have three of the best shooters on the planet though.

    https://stats.nba.com/teams/scoring/?sort=PCT_PTS_PAINT&dir=-1
     
  17. chilidawg

    chilidawg Member SoSH Member

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    More numbers. We're next to last in % of points in the paint, and 28th in points from FT's. Warriors are last in points in the paint, about average though in points from FT's. We're also second behind the Rockets in points from 3, but the Rockets are 13th in points from free throws. I'm always amazed at how little Kyrie gets to the line.
     
  18. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Anyplace we could see a shot chart by month? Team splits if you will.

    It seems they are making an effort to drive more lately, but I can't figure out how to quantify that.
     
  19. chilidawg

    chilidawg Member SoSH Member

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    There's a season segment filter on that NBA.com site.
     
  20. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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  21. chilidawg

    chilidawg Member SoSH Member

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    You can do it on the drives page. We went from 32 per game in November to 42 in December, or from near last to average. So your perception is right, they are driving it more.
     
  22. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Cool thanks.

    That's a rather larger increase (just over 30%), which would seem to mean, to me at least, that it's a conscious effort to do this.
     
  23. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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    More or less dreaming. Look no further than the Finals rematch vs. the Lakers when the FT disparity arguably shifted the series. But even before that series, during Big Three 2.0, Doc was regularly admonished for his very public reactions to calls that went against the Celtics. The theory was that the refs didn't want to put up with it so they didn't give his team the benefits of any doubts.

    Looking at the stats, From when Doc arrived in 2004 until 2009 Boston was towards the bottom of the top 10 for FTAs per game. From 2010 to 2015 the number drops off a cliff into the 20's. There were two decent showings in FTAs around 2015 and then for the last two years it's back down into the dregs of the 20's again. They are currently 27th in FTAs which is pretty bad considering they have a superstar player who does a fair amount of driving in Kyrie: http://www.espn.com/nba/statistics/team/_/stat/offense-per-game/sort/avgFreeThrowsAttempted
     
  24. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    While this year for Kyrie is down, his overall Boston numbers are 4.4 FTA/36 minutes, only down a tick from what he was in Cleveland (4.9).

    Last year was Kyrie's second highest FTA/36.

    The FTA are way down from 2 years ago--but that's because we had IT, who averaged 8.3 FTA/36 when he was here. The offense is different.
     
  25. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Thank you for this.

    A few thoughts.

    I don't know and haven't seen any way to determine how much coaches "working the refs" works so I am always loathe to comment when others are lamenting Brad's seeming passivity at calls. This suggests that its hard to determine how much a coach can help or hurt their team's chances by "lawyering" referees. To be clear, this isn't to suggest there isn't some optimal amount of jawboning a coach should do but its hard to make a data based argument that Stevens "less vocal" approach (quotes because the camera isn't always on him and he does interface with officials during games) is one of the drivers of the C's low FTA numbers.

    Finally, there is no data to support this either but Kliq's take that Irving avoids contact in order to finish is a good one. It not only means he isn't getting full-on body to body contact but it likely makes it harder for refs to officiate his takes because, as we know, some form of contact happens on just about every NBA sequence.

    I will be interested to see if Kyrie's FTAs normalize closer to what they have been over the last few seasons. He isn't really shooting more from the perimeter so the cause is something else. And it may well have to do with how defenders have adapted to the new freedom of movement rules.
     
  26. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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    I think everyone on this board is still so freaked out about the times when Phil Jackson used to strategically complain about fouls at press conferences when his teams needed a little something extra (and it seemed to actually work to his advantage) that I think we are overstating a coach's impact on the refs and how they call games. The most common through line for FTAs to me is player reputation. If you look at LeBron sideways, LeBron gets the call. On the other hand, as soon as Greg Stiemsma checks in, he's practically already fouled out. I don't think Brad is costing us in free throw attempts but it's also likely we'll never really know for sure.
     
  27. djbayko

    djbayko Member SoSH Member

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    I agree with you for the most part. I don't think Brad is costing us at the line on a consistent basis. However, make up calls are real. I don't know that the refs are knowingly making calls in one direction - it's probably more just a natural subconscious tendency to lean one way to even things out if they know they or one of their colleagues just f'd up. In these situations - especially come playoff time when the stakes are higher - I'd like to see him be a lot more vocal.

    And yeah, Phil Jackson was a master at working the refs.
     
  28. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Was it Phil Jackson getting calls or his superstars? He was a proxy for the complaints of Jordan, etc.

    If he was coaching the Suns this year, he could likely complain until he was blue in the face.
     
  29. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    I blame Brad for not working refs in the heat of the moment in game threads, but I don't really buy it when I take a less emotional step back.

    When IT was tearing up the league, he was drawing tons of fouls, because he knew how to get to the rim, stay in control, and create contact while not losing the ball. As a result, he got a lot of calls, because players who can do that get calls.

    When you look at the Celtics guys who go to the basket, you have:
    -Hayward, who can barely jump right now, and gets swallowed up whenever he tries to finish
    -Tatum, who loses the ball or gets stripped cleanly on a ton of drives
    -Kyrie, who has actively avoided contact his whole career in favor of finishing and preserving his body from that beating. Given how IT's career has gone, I can't fault him at all.
    -Brown, who just looks out of control a ton of the time. I haven't watched the film closely, but I'd bet almost anything that something about how he creates contact looks wrong/un-foul-like to officials.

    If/when Hayward recovers explosiveness, and Tatum gets better at keeping control of the ball on drives (still just 20!), the FT rate will go up. Tatum, in particular, could become an elite foul-drawer imo. Until then, it's going to be frustrating, and we just need to price it in.
     
  30. djbayko

    djbayko Member SoSH Member

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    Oh, no doubt he couldn't have done it without MJ. But there's no denying that his complaints yielded positive results.
     
  31. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Celtics shot 31 FTs last night.

    Of course Houston shot 35, 30 in the second half.
     
    #31 DrewDawg, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  32. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    Well, D'Antoni is pretty good at working the refs too.

    https://deadspin.com/referee-meltdo...source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

    Shocking, I tell you. Shocking. Like I said in the game thread last night, James Harden shooting more than 10 free throws in the 2nd half (after not shooting any in the first half) was pretty much the most predictable thing in the history of sports. Amazing how much the C's defense changed during halftime.
     
  33. the moops

    the moops Member SoSH Member

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    I think it would be difficult to find instances in the 2nd half where Harden didn't deserve going to the line when he did.
     
  34. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    Hard to know considering on half the fouls, TNT didn't bother to show a replay.
     
  35. lars10

    lars10 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So you're saying those nine free throws on three point attempts were deserved.

    edit: on at least two he just fell down.
     
  36. the moops

    the moops Member SoSH Member

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    5:55 Horford did not give him room to land. That is a foul every single time.

    1:45 Semi did the same thing, although that one was a little bit debateable.

    :38.3 Smart hit him on the elbow - it was a clear foul.

    You can watch and pause and see replays here https://sportsvideo.net/event/boston-celtics-houston-rockets/29998
     
  37. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    We’ve been over the landing space rule on jump shooters as nauseum here. I used to beat it endlessly back when I hung out in the game threads. It’s arguably the easiest call for an official to make as all the official needs to see is where the defenders feet are on the shooters landing.....each one last night was an obvious foul on the Celtics.

    Edit: what the moops said.....didn’t see his response.
     
  38. the moops

    the moops Member SoSH Member

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    Also - I sure as hell would be falling to the ground too if the defender gets into my landing area. Best way to avoid a terrible ankle injury
     
  39. HowBoutDemSox

    HowBoutDemSox Member SoSH Member

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    That foul on Semi on Harden's 3-point attempt at 1:45 left in the fourth is the farthest things from a legit foul. Semi deliberately moves to the side to allow Harden to have his landing spot and Harden still gets the call.
    [​IMG]
     
  40. the moops

    the moops Member SoSH Member

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    Semi continued to move forward though, and it appears that their bodies collided. It is questionable for sure, but hardly the most egregious foul Harden has ever gotten to the line for
     
  41. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    Yeah this wasn’t a drive to the basket. ANY contact on a jump shooter is going to get whistled even if the official feels the shooter was allowed his landing spot. I only saw the play live one time and it looked like Harden’s landing spot was compromised but even if it wasn’t this is a clear foul to the body of a jump shooter.
     
  42. The Needler

    The Needler lurker

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    Semi and his 5 career blocks shouldn’t even be breathing heavy on Harden taking a jump shot.
     
  43. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    The Celtics make it a point of emphasis to have players leave their feet and contest 3-pointers hard. A lot of coaches cringe when they see it, since it goes against most of what players are drilled to do, but the results over the past 5 years have been phenomenal. A few 3 point fouls on occasion are the cost of doing business.
     
  44. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    This is true, for James Harden.

    This is not true for Morris, Brown, Tatum, Kyrie, or any other player in the NBA.

    Edit: I think Marcus Smart is the only Celtic I can remember getting a foul call on a 3 point shot this season (maybe Morris had a couple too). Smart, like Harden, sells his contact to the refs. That's what makes it so infuriating as a fan. The guys who don't whine simply don't get the same calls. The league is rewarding this type of screaming and whining after every play by making the calls for the whiners and not making them on the same contact when someone doesn't whine or act like they've been sniped from the rafters.
     
  45. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    I agree with this 40%. With Harden though, you have to keep in mind that he takes a ridiculous number of stepback 3s, which are particularly likely to draw fouls, because of the way that the defender is off-balance and lunging towards the shooter to contest. Harden's also really, really good at stepback 3s, so guys feel like they have to contest them more than they otherwise would.

    To take just Kyrie as an example, his 3s tend to be coming off screens sideways, pullups, catch-and-shoots, all of which don't generate fouls at the same rate.

    It's not a Celtics thing. 2016-2017 IT got really good at drawing contact coming around screens and shooting 3s. He was even better at it than Harden, and generated a ton of 3-point fouls before the league changed the rules to disallow shooting fouls in that situation.

    I'm not a fan of Harden's game, but he has refined it to be optimized exactly for the most efficient plays. Kyrie could learn something from him. To be specific, Harden puts himself in the same situation each play, with the same reads. He dribbles from the top of the key, decides whether to go to the hoop or shoot the stepback, and then knows the reads he has if/when he decides to go to the hoop. Each step of the process has a ton of point equity: 3-pointer+3-point foul chance, layups+foul chance+better offensive rebound positioning for Capela, alley-oops, and open 3s for shooters if help comes.
     
    #45 lovegtm, Dec 29, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  46. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    Also note that Harden's style does have negative tradeoffs, particularly in the playoffs. There's evidence that in both 2017 and 2018 he wore down from running so many isos, with the attendant high dribbling volumes. The Rockets got Paul to help with exactly that workload (along with the fact that he's a great player), but if he's hurt again this spring, I wouldn't be surprised to see Harden show wear as playoff series go on.
     
  47. HowBoutDemSox

    HowBoutDemSox Member SoSH Member

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    Celtics tonight against the T-Wolves: 15 FTs for the entire game.

    Lakers tonight against the Thunder; 15 FTs in the first quarter.
     

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