A Time to Worry: Celtics Postseason Concerns

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,688
This is my least favorite thread on SoSH in a long time.
With every thread already turning into a litany of complaints along the lines of "we don't have the balls necessary to get to the Finals again because last night's game made me pee my pants", this thread feels terribly redundant.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,884
Eh, who cares? If the thread annoys you, ignore it. It’s not that hard. I’m not overly worried about anything other than TL because a healthy TL makes the Celtics a juggernaut. Without a healthy TL, they’re one of a handful of teams you can pick out of a hat that will be champion.

It’s funny because the betting public is still very much on the Celtics’ side:

Celtics +280
Suns +450
Bucks +500
Nuggets +750
Clippers +1000
Sixers +1200

I think a lot of this is just 2022 Finals PTSD and the accumulation of close calls from 2017 onward. We have come so close to winning and it hurts knowing how tenuous NBA champion windows are.

My hope is that we’re the 2014 Spurs. Spurs nearly won it in 2013 (and should have - damn you, Ray) but they came back with the same veteran-laden team with their emerging star and got the job done. I think there are a lot of similarities between that Spurs team and this Celtics squad. It’s never easy to win it all but this team clearly has what it takes.
 

lars10

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
12,621
Tatum in particular goes on stretches where he forgets how to shoot for weeks and then figures it out. Somehow every meaningful metric still thinks that he's a top 10 player.
Maybe because he is and your statement isn’t true?
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,531
With every thread already turning into a litany of complaints along the lines of "we don't have the balls necessary to get to the Finals again because last night's game made me pee my pants", this thread feels terribly redundant.
I did not intend for this to be the Chicken Little thread.

The Celtics are a very good team, with a good shot to win the NBA Finals, but are not favorites against the field. Thus, it is interesting to (calmly and sanely) discuss things that could derail their title pursuit, while trying to avoid whining about things that every NBA team contends with.

I thought Keith Smith had a good synopsis of something I'm concerned about, in his Takeaways today:
Yes, fouls were 22-11. Yes, New York outshot Boston 34-14 in free throw attempts. And, yes, there were even some bad calls.

But having watched the game twice, the Knicks were the aggressors. From the jump, New York was focused on getting in the lane to create scoring opportunities. Boston was content to pass around the perimeter and take three-pointers.

In the first quarter alone, where the tone for the game was set, the Celtics took 12 three-pointers (making just one, but more on that later) and just seven shots in the paint.
When the Celtics play poorly, it's often because they don't make a concerted effort to attack the paint. That was painfully obvious early in this game.

I thought that, as the game went on, they did a better job of it at points, but the shots still didn't fall and the damage was largely done (the 1st quarter was basically the margin of victory, and definitely the Knicks' margin of comfort throughout).

It's somewhat worrying that the players and coaches can't get commitment to at least attacking every 1st quarter, when legs are fresh and you can set a gameplan the day before. I would hope this is corrected down the stretch, and worry if it's not.
 

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
47,834
Hartford, CT
The idea Jayson Tatum is the biggest concern for the Celtics is wild.

If the premise of that statement is that a team is screwed if their best player plays poorly in the playoffs, and therefore the potential of their best player playing poorly is the biggest concern, then I guess every playoff caliber team’s biggest concern is their best player.
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
11,695
The Celtics certainly missed Jaylen's ability to create shots last night. He is among the best in the league at it. At various times Smart, Tatum, Brogdon and White were in penetration mode driving into the paint and they had decent success from FG% perspective. I missed the first quarter but 15 points in the first 12 minutes is obviously not a winning recipe. I don't know what an optimum balance between attempts from the paint vs three is but Keith Smith's point is a good one. The Celtics set a poor tone in the first quarter and could not dig their way out of it. This team lives and dies by the three. I don't think the Celtics are going to win a ton of games when they shoot 20% from beyond the arc.

The combination of missing Jaylen and missing most of their threes was too much to overcome.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
12,304
around the way
Maybe because he is and your statement isn’t true?
I'm 100% sure that he is a top 5 player, let alone top 10. Anyone who has Tatum outside of the top 10 hates basketball.

But my statement is true. Guy goes on extended shooting slumps. Most people do.

61738

edit: Obviously the premise of this whole thread is that "something is wrong", which is a bit of victim syndrome imo. I'm enjoying the season.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,531
edit: Obviously the premise of this whole thread is that "something is wrong", which is a bit of victim syndrome imo. I'm enjoying the season.
The bolded is completely incorrect. Please re-read my original post without projecting doomerism on to me.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,884
The idea Jayson Tatum is the biggest concern for the Celtics is wild.

If the premise of that statement is that a team is screwed if their best player plays poorly in the playoffs, and therefore the potential of their best player playing poorly is the biggest concern, then I guess every playoff caliber team’s biggest concern is their best player.
If you squint a little, I can kind of see the argument here. The Celtics lost #18 because Tatum played like shit (probably hurt) and the Warriors got an epic performance from their alpha star. More often than not, your stars need to be stars in order to bring home the trophy. There are some exceptions (Kobe in 2010...ugh) but I think it's reasonable to be (somewhat) worried about Tatum meeting the moment until he actually finishes the job. That doubt is not uncommon for top 10 player stars who are chasing that elusive first ring.

If you think that the Celtics are the best team in the NBA when Tatum is "right", then I think it's reasonable to be concerned about Tatum's performance in that specific sense. If we had normal Tatum closing out the 2022 Finals, we win. It wouldn't have mattered what Curry and Co. did. Tatum's struggles allowed Curry to take the trophy from us and he, to his credit, did just that.

I also think that nothing beats experience, which is why I referenced the 2014 Spurs. This team lost a heartbreaking finals and came right back and established themselves as arguably the best team in the league. They're good. They know they're good. They've got tons of relevant experience. I think they can do it.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
45,935
Here
Here's my issue with this team. I think Doc said it best when he was talking about Game 7 against Cleveland from the 2008 season, where he said you never want to be in an elimination game where the best player is on the other side of the floor. The problem I see is that there is a good chance in 3 of the 4 series you need to win where this will potentially be the case. Obviously, the Celtics have just owned the Sixers in recent years, but it's still a concern, especially since Embiid is a ref darling. Other than that, I think really there are 3-5 teams who are all extremely close in talent and it will just come down to execution and luck. I never bought that the Celtics were clearly head of the class in the league and I still don't. But they are absolutely in that elite group. I'd say the Bucks at +500 are a much better bet than the Celtics at +280, though. I don't get that one.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I have two concerns for this team:
  • Jaylen's wrist injury is causing his "shooting slump" and that it will get worse before it gets better. Yes, any injury to any team's top dog will be debilitating, but JT clearly has something in his wrist that has been bothering him, and it's the sort of injury that can easily be aggravated in a number of ways.
  • Live-ball turnovers. Not all turnovers are equal but the Celts seem to give up a bunch of the live-ball type that often lead to easy fast-break points. Much of this is driven by the fact that their highest usage guys don't have the tightest of handles. Some of it is driven by the (smart/intentional) strategy to move the ball, which sometimes leads to some throwaways. I think that both of these issues tend to be a bit contagious both from the Celtics side (trying to do too much) and from the defensive side (the opponents smell blood and get more active).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,966

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
8,851
The idea Jayson Tatum is the biggest concern for the Celtics is wild.
I agree, but I can also see the point that, basically, if Tatum plays really well and does the things that Tatum can do when he's at his best, the Celtics aren't going to lose because of Grant Williams or some other role player. It's certainly possible for the Jays to put up 70 combined points and the Celtics still lose, but it's unlikely.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
I'm 100% sure that he is a top 5 player, let alone top 10. Anyone who has Tatum outside of the top 10 hates basketball.

But my statement is true. Guy goes on extended shooting slumps. Most people do.

View attachment 61738
Agreed. Soon to be 25 and still growing/improving.

I'm fine with folks being somewhat concerned with Tatums minutes' totals and wrist. You'd have to be a robot not to recognize that those things could be an issue.

Really interested in seeing how the JAYS play at home against the Knicks' bully ball. Sunday may be a nice preview of how the Celtics would respond after a Round 2 loss.

One of these summers JT will stop growing, at that point he'll refine his 3pt stroke with Hanlan. When he returns to being 40% from 3 he'll be the best player in the NBA. It will have a massive knock-on effect.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
12,304
around the way
Agreed. Soon to be 25 and still growing/improving.

I'm fine with folks being somewhat concerned with Tatums minutes' totals and wrist. You'd have to be a robot not to recognize that those things could be an issue.

Really interested in seeing how the JAYS play at home against the Knicks' bully ball. Sunday may be a nice preview of how the Celtics would respond after a Round 2 loss.

One of these summers JT will stop growing, at that point he'll refine his 3pt stroke with Hanlan. When he returns to being 40% from 3 he'll be the best player in the NBA. It will have a massive knock-on effect.
Agreed completely. Taking care of Tatum is like taking care of your heart or the engine in your car. Without that, you're not going far.

What's great about JT's growth is that despite a career low 3PT% this year so far he has a career high TS% and almost a career high in eFG% (highest eFG% since his rookie year). He's better than ever despite being an average shooter of the three.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
23,360
Agreed completely. Taking care of Tatum is like taking care of your heart or the engine in your car. Without that, you're not going far.

What's great about JT's growth is that despite a career low 3PT% this year so far he has a career high TS% and almost a career high in eFG% (highest eFG% since his rookie year). He's better than ever despite being an average shooter of the three.
It's almost like that his lower three point percentage is based more on volume than him being any worse of a shooter. It's basically impossible for someone to be the primary on-ball creator for a team, take a ton of threes off the bounce, and shoot 40% or greater from three. It's basically what makes Steph Curry who he is. I think Dame has done it once. Durant does it but doesn't take 9 threes a game like Tatum does.
 

jmcc5400

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2000
5,578
Really interested in seeing how the JAYS play at home against the Knicks' bully ball. Sunday may be a nice preview of how the Celtics would respond after a Round 2 loss.
This is where I am, and also with Cleveland tomorrow night. Last night had "let down" written all over it and even then if Muscala or Hauser drain corner threes maybe they make a game of it. So, come out angry tomorrow night and then give it back to the Knicks this weekend.
 

bsj

Renegade Crazed Genius
SoSH Member
Dec 6, 2003
22,832
Central NJ SoSH Chapter
I'd love to see them sign Melo as a veteran offensive presence off the bench. I feel like as good as this team is, there seems to be the ability for everyone to get cold at once on nights like last night. i think you cant have enough veteran offensive options
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
It's almost like that his lower three point percentage is based more on volume than him being any worse of a shooter. It's basically impossible for someone to be the primary on-ball creator for a team, take a ton of threes off the bounce, and shoot 40% or greater from three. It's basically what makes Steph Curry who he is. I think Dame has done it once. Durant does it but doesn't take 9 threes a game like Tatum does.
While I agree about volume with most players, it does seem that JT shoots 3s better later in the game, when he's warmed up.

I'd also rather have him catch & shoot 3s instead of initiating the offense from the top
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
I'd love to see them sign Melo as a veteran offensive presence off the bench. I feel like as good as this team is, there seems to be the ability for everyone to get cold at once on nights like last night. i think you cant have enough veteran offensive options
I love me some MELO but NO never. We have better shooters on this team already
 

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
8,844
Imaginationland
While I agree about volume with most players, it does seem that JT shoots 3s better later in the game, when he's warmed up.

I'd also rather have him catch & shoot 3s instead of initiating the offense from the top
Tatum 3p% by quarter and half:

1st quarter - 31.9% (2.5 attempts)
2nd quarter - 28.3% (2.4 attempts)
3rd quarter - 46.0% (2.6 attempts)
4th quarter - 35.4% (1.8 attempts)

1st half - 30.1% (4.9 attempts)
2nd half - 41.8% (4.3 attempts)

Those are some pretty sharp splits.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
Tatum 3p% by quarter and half:

1st quarter - 31.9% (2.5 attempts)
2nd quarter - 28.3% (2.4 attempts)
3rd quarter - 46.0% (2.6 attempts)
4th quarter - 35.4% (1.8 attempts)

1st half - 30.1% (4.9 attempts)
2nd half - 41.8% (4.3 attempts)

Those are some pretty sharp splits.
Tatum's career 3pt shooting:

Post-AS break: 40.8%
Pre-AS break: 36.5%
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
More discussion on Tatum's 3pt shooting in The Athletic today. Letting Smart, White, & Brogdon initiate with the JAYs in action would help.

https://theathletic.com/4262352/2023/03/01/jayson-tatum-jumper-celtics/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Though Tatum’s history of quality 3-point shooting suggests the Celtics should not be too concerned about his outside stroke, the disappearance of his pull-up jumper has lasted long enough to warrant mention.

Based on NBA.com’s tracking data, Tatum has knocked down just 28.8% of his pull-up 3-point attempts this season (off the dribble). Considering he has tried nearly five such shots per game, that’s a significant blemish that has limited him to the worst 3-point percentage of his career, not just a blip on his stat line. Tatum has been money on catch-and-shoot opportunities, but his accuracy has fallen off after he puts the ball on the floor.

41.57% on catch-and-shoot 3s

Among all 30 players averaging at least three pull-up 3-point attempts per game, Tatum is the only one shooting worse than 30 percent on such tries. Though he has eliminated many of his off-the-dribble midrange jumpers (hooray for analytics!), he is also shooting a career-low 34.4 percent on pull-up 2-point attempts this season. Combining 2s and 3s, he has hit just 30.5 percent of pull-up attempts this season, according to the league’s tracking data.

Tatum has still put together the best season of his life in a long list of ways. Overall, he has scored more frequently and efficiently than ever. He has averaged a career-best 8.4 free throws per game. He has been one of the best rebounders among forwards in the league. He has shot 40.9 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He deserves to land on MVP ballots as one of the game’s premier two-way players.

He just hasn’t been able to rely on the skill that once looked like it would shape his game.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,257
Tatum 3p% by quarter and half:

1st quarter - 31.9% (2.5 attempts)
2nd quarter - 28.3% (2.4 attempts)
3rd quarter - 46.0% (2.6 attempts)
4th quarter - 35.4% (1.8 attempts)

1st half - 30.1% (4.9 attempts)
2nd half - 41.8% (4.3 attempts)

Those are some pretty sharp splits.
Tatum's career 3pt shooting:

Post-AS break: 40.8%
Pre-AS break: 36.5%
Which is amazing considering how “gassed” he is from all those minutes forced upon him. ;)
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
Which is amazing considering how “gassed” he is from all those minutes forced upon him. ;)
the guy barely breaks a sweat in-game (at least in the post-game interviews)

I think folks, are concerned with the cumulative effects (and his wrist) of minutes.

My 2 cents is two weeks on the road, out of a suitcase, is absolutely brutal
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,884
the guy barely breaks a sweat in-game (at least in the post-game interviews)

I think folks, are concerned with the cumulative effects (and his wrist) of minutes.

My 2 cents is two weeks on the road, out of a suitcase, is absolutely brutal
As a parent with 2 kids under 8, I would kill for 2 weeks on the road out of a suitcase…
 

CapeCodYaz

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2020
82
If you squint a little, I can kind of see the argument here. The Celtics lost #18 because Tatum played like shit (probably hurt) and the Warriors got an epic performance from their alpha star. More often than not, your stars need to be stars in order to bring home the trophy. There are some exceptions (Kobe in 2010...ugh) but I think it's reasonable to be (somewhat) worried about Tatum meeting the moment until he actually finishes the job. That doubt is not uncommon for top 10 player stars who are chasing that elusive first ring.

If you think that the Celtics are the best team in the NBA when Tatum is "right", then I think it's reasonable to be concerned about Tatum's performance in that specific sense. If we had normal Tatum closing out the 2022 Finals, we win. It wouldn't have mattered what Curry and Co. did. Tatum's struggles allowed Curry to take the trophy from us and he, to his credit, did just that.

I also think that nothing beats experience, which is why I referenced the 2014 Spurs. This team lost a heartbreaking finals and came right back and established themselves as arguably the best team in the league. They're good. They know they're good. They've got tons of relevant experience. I think they can do it.
I think their experience from last year will be huge. I also think they need to rest their starters more when they have huge leads in games---at times they get 3 point happy--partially ego but sometimes it looks like laziness---also anyone 6-10 or bigger needs to be in the paint punishing the other teams big men!!
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,884
I honestly can't tell what is parody or not anymore

Tatum is at .352 at home and .351 on the road
It’s parody. But he does shoot poorly in Q1 on the road so maybe he needs a better sleep number bed on the road.
 

Eddie Jurak

canderson-lite
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
45,762
Melrose, MA
Tatum's career 3pt shooting:

Post-AS break: 40.8%
Pre-AS break: 36.5%
Which is amazing considering how “gassed” he is from all those minutes forced upon him. ;)
So, for his career, he shoots better after the break. Indeed, every season of his career except 2018-19 he shot better after the break. But this year he's shooting 24% after the break. Very SSS I know, but it is something one might expect to see if he was worn down.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,257
So, for his career, he shoots better after the break. Indeed, every season of his career except 2018-19 he shot better after the break. But this year he's shooting 24% after the break. Very SSS I know, but it is something one might expect to see if he was worn down.
Now you’re just trolling. Jesus.
 

Eddie Jurak

canderson-lite
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
45,762
Melrose, MA
Now you’re just trolling. Jesus.
The general trend here is to call out anyone who dares criticize Saint Joe's usage of Tatum this year and ridicule the very thought that there might be any decline in Tatum's performance... even as his performance has delicned in multiple ways.

Yes, the sample size is small and not proof of anything, but I didn;t offer it as proof of what his next few weeks would be like, just an indication that he might be off his form. Along with his not going to the line, and his (and teammates) suggesting that he's tired.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
So, for his career, he shoots better after the break. Indeed, every season of his career except 2018-19 he shot better after the break. But this year he's shooting 24% after the break. Very SSS I know, but it is something one might expect to see if he was worn down.
I think he is tired from All-Star festivities, releasing his shoe (claims he didn't sleep that night), and being on the road for two weeks without his family/chef.

I suspect JT will turn it on over the next 20 games.
 

Eddie Jurak

canderson-lite
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
45,762
Melrose, MA
I think he is tired from All-Star festivities, releasing his shoe (claims he didn't sleep that night), and being on the road for two weeks without his family/chef.

I suspect JT will turn it on over the next 20 games.
Hopefully. But if true the Celtics should have sent him home instead of to Indy.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 26, 2006
14,682
Going by instinct, it seemed to me like Tatum getting to the line frequently was hugely important for Cs wins, so I looked into it:

His average FTs per game is at 8.4, more than 2 better than last year, and 3.4 better than his career average of 5.

So, I took 8 as the over/under to look at whether more than average FTs in a game is likely to lead to a win.

In the 33 games where he's had either 8 or more FTs, the Cs are 25-8 - a .767 win percentage.
In the 25 games where he's had 7 or fewer FTs, the Cs are 17-8 - a .680 win percentage.

Not exactly a huge difference, but something to watch.
 

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
8,844
Imaginationland
Going by instinct, it seemed to me like Tatum getting to the line frequently was hugely important for Cs wins, so I looked into it:

His average FTs per game is at 8.4, more than 2 better than last year, and 3.4 better than his career average of 5.

So, I took 8 as the over/under to look at whether more than average FTs in a game is likely to lead to a win.

In the 33 games where he's had either 8 or more FTs, the Cs are 25-8 - a .767 win percentage.
In the 25 games where he's had 7 or fewer FTs, the Cs are 17-8 - a .680 win percentage.

Not exactly a huge difference, but something to watch.
He's averaging 8.381 FTAs per game in wins and 8.375 FTAs per game in losses. For better or worse, there's not much to be parsed from that.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Moderator
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
72,668
It's not the FTs, it's his overall scoring.

32-5 when he scores 29 points or more, 10-11 when he scores fewer than 29, 2-2 when he doesn't play.
 

CreightonGubanich

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 13, 2006
1,407
north shore, MA
The general trend here is to call out anyone who dares criticize Saint Joe's usage of Tatum this year and ridicule the very thought that there might be any decline in Tatum's performance... even as his performance has delicned in multiple ways.

Yes, the sample size is small and not proof of anything, but I didn;t offer it as proof of what his next few weeks would be like, just an indication that he might be off his form. Along with his not going to the line, and his (and teammates) suggesting that he's tired.
Your first paragraph is a straw man. No one here is taking issue with the idea that Tatum's usage might be too high, or that Tatum is in a bit of a funk at the moment. They're taking issue with the evidence you're using to make your point, which includes such data points as three-point shooting percentage after three games, and free throw attempts over a two game sample. You keep saying that you're not offering those data points as proof of anything, but you're insinuating that they're meaningful in some way. They're not.

That said, I think it's a good idea to get Tatum some rest over the next few weeks. Brad Stevens has said they're going to do exactly that, and he made that statement well before the post-All Star break struggles. He also said it's important that Tatum gets a certain number of high-minute games. It sounds like the theory, either his or JT's, is that you can't just go from averaging 35 minutes a night to 42 minutes in the playoffs. You have to build up that stamina over time.

I don't know enough to say if that's right or not. I do think that people suggesting that Joe Mazzulla is either ignorant or shortsighted on this issue, as if he's coaching for regular season wins at the expense of the playoffs, have the burden of proof here, because everything that's been said publicly indicates that this is an organizational decision made in collaboration between Brad, Joe and JT.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,257
I think he is tired from All-Star festivities, releasing his shoe (claims he didn't sleep that night), and being on the road for two weeks without his family/chef.

I suspect JT will turn it on over the next 20 games.
Most players, if not all, return from the ASG tired and off focus from the activities. Tatum hasn’t really logged a lot of court time over the past 12 days which is probably affecting his timing and rhythm rather than from playing too much basketball which he hasn’t been doing.
 

JM3

often quoted
SoSH Member
Dec 14, 2019
17,365
Last year through 62 team games, Tatum had played 2,094 minutes. This year through 62 team games, Tatum has played 2,166 minutes.

It's a 72 minute difference, mostly caused by Tatum being injured last season & missing games 34 through 37. Seems fine.
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
42,404
Here's a statistic to parse.

If the C's shoot 40% from 3 in a game, they are 25-0.

The only way this team loses is if their shots don't go down, or some major injury hits.

The end.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,531
This is partly me over-reacting because 3s went down, but:

The Celtics made an obvious effort from the jump last night to hit the paint, rather than pass around the perimeter for 3s. Whenever I see that early, I feel good about the rest of the game, win or lose, because it indicates the process and effort are going to be there.

Obviously a lot of 3s fell, but I liked the process to get them. They were generally higher quality than the 3s Cleveland took.

No one expects the Celtics to go fo-fo-fo, but I like their chances in a 7-game series with this process.
 

amarshal2

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
4,917
Remember this time last year when the C’s were absolutely waxing *everybody* no matter the opponent by 20 points nightly? Half their games were over in the first quarter. Then Rob got hurt and they still made the finals but they never looked like magic again. They look better than the finals run team to me but much worse than the team they were in the second half.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,531
Remember this time last year when the C’s were absolutely waxing *everybody* no matter the opponent by 20 points nightly? Half their games were over in the first quarter. Then Rob got hurt and they still made the finals but they never looked like magic again. They look better than the finals run team to me but much worse than the team they were in the second half.
Rob getting hurt and never really getting back, even up to now, is the big factor there.

I also think there is some fool's gold in these late season runs, like Milwaukee is on now. You get in an amazing groove, some of your opponents aren't as good, you're rolling...

...and then the playoffs hit. 7 games, all against a good team that is doing its damndest to take you out of what you want to do and iterating constantly on that, with higher effort to boot.

Unless you have prime Steph+KD, it's pretty much impossible to keep those grooves going when it counts. Even MJ's Bulls had a lot of really grueling series on the way to those 3-peats.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,109
Santa Monica
Remember this time last year when the C’s were absolutely waxing *everybody* no matter the opponent by 20 points nightly? Half their games were over in the first quarter. Then Rob got hurt and they still made the finals but they never looked like magic again. They look better than the finals run team to me but much worse than the team they were in the second half.
last season 2nd half-run was one for the record books (something like "best record after starting under .500" ?)

The Brogdon upgrade will help a lot in the playoffs, elite scoring ball-handler was a big missing piece.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,966
Remember this time last year when the C’s were absolutely waxing *everybody* no matter the opponent by 20 points nightly? Half their games were over in the first quarter. Then Rob got hurt and they still made the finals but they never looked like magic again. They look better than the finals run team to me but much worse than the team they were in the second half.
Without looking it up, my guess is that last year's 2nd half team was killing everyone because of their new defense and other teams hadn't adjusted. My memory says that the Cs were getting a lot more fast break and transition points off their defense, which is great but wasn't something they could rely on as much after TL got hurt.

I don't know quite why it seems to me that the defense of the starting 5 is a notch below where it was during the 2nd half run. Maybe that's just confirmation bias.

I think this team is way better on the offensive end than last year's 2nd half team (they should be; they have more weapons) and to me that bodes better for the playoffs.