Analysis of Celtics Games (2020-2021)

HomeRunBaker

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Down 3, 30.8 seconds left, and they intentionally foul once OKC gets it over the halfcourt (28 seconds left at that point). Wouldn't the smart play be to try to get a stop and keep it a one possession game instead of conceding the free throws and making it a five point game?
Meh, I like extending the game here especially agaiant a team inexperienced in closing out games. One missed FT and you can attack the rim to make it a 2-point game. They make both you have a chance to get a quick 2 to reset the same sequence or look for a 3 to cut the lead to 2.

Even if we get a stop and the ball with 6-7 seconds to go then OKC can quickly foul to never even give us a shot at a 3 to tie. I agree with Brad on this one.
 

slamminsammya

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If they are allowed to keep bombing 3s while going 11/49 and do not hustle to rebound or prevent transition buckets off misses... it doesn’t really matter if Kemba sits another game or not.
People tend to bring this up about the 3s, and with certain players it might make sense, like where you see Fournier consistently short and clearly fatigued, but I absolutely do not understand the logic that you should stop shooting threes if you haven't been making them throughout the game. If a guy is a 40% shooter from downtown, like say Jaylen Brown, and he is 1-8 through three quarters (just a hypothetical), I absolutely want him to still be taking them if they are open in the 4th. Do people really disagree?
 

teddykgb

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The joke was always “shoot to get hot shoot to stay hot” right?

Shooting isn’t only about form it is also about feel. Truly gifted shooters can shoot their way through misses. Maybe that’s just talent, maybe theyhave enough confidence to not get tight after a few misses — you want those guys to generally keep shooting good shots.

But this Celtics team doesn’t have a lot of gifted shooters. Their raw stats always end up ok over a season but almost all of them have a huge variance (imo) night to night and I trust none of them, including Tatum, to shoot their way through a night where the first few don’t fall. I don’t think they’re talented enough naturally but even if they are they just don’t seem to have the mental toughness, in general.

There’s so much going on in a basketball game about guys roles on the court in any given lineup and so much of the game is about the egos of your other teammates along with your own. I don’t think it is safe to treat misses as independent events. Misses by a role player create pressure to pass up the next shot or to try to make another even if it is forced to earn more minutes. Repeated misses by an alpha scorer may have the secondary scorer getting frustrated. All of that kind of bubbles up and is a fluid situation during a game. Basically a long winded way of saying that the shots tend to fall for everyone when others are making but the increase in pressure as each shot bricks tends to lead to a vicious cycle.

Which is why basketball conventional wisdom generally says that when the shots aren’t falling it is important to see the ball go through the net a few times. A layup or an easier jumper to get a feel and break some of that tension can really open things up for a scorer or a teammate. I think when people get frustrated by the Celtics just bombing away it’s not that they want or expect the team to stop shooting 3s all game but instead would like to see them”earn” their way back to those shots by working as a team to just pile up a few makes and build some overall team momentum.

My personal opinion is that all of this flows from their lousy defense. When they do get stops and steals and get running they get some of those easy baskets and can create a type of shooting momentum. They keep giving up a lot of huge quarters which puts pressure on them to score to keep up and means they’re usually doing that against completely set defenses which puts a lot of pressure on their half court execution. Not wanting to go full Tommy here but they have a really long and athletic set of wings who would really benefit being on the fast break more but that can’t happen without defensive stops
 

slamminsammya

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The joke was always “shoot to get hot shoot to stay hot” right?

Shooting isn’t only about form it is also about feel. Truly gifted shooters can shoot their way through misses. Maybe that’s just talent, maybe theyhave enough confidence to not get tight after a few misses — you want those guys to generally keep shooting good shots.

But this Celtics team doesn’t have a lot of gifted shooters. Their raw stats always end up ok over a season but almost all of them have a huge variance (imo) night to night and I trust none of them, including Tatum, to shoot their way through a night where the first few don’t fall. I don’t think they’re talented enough naturally but even if they are they just don’t seem to have the mental toughness, in general.

There’s so much going on in a basketball game about guys roles on the court in any given lineup and so much of the game is about the egos of your other teammates along with your own. I don’t think it is safe to treat misses as independent events. Misses by a role player create pressure to pass up the next shot or to try to make another even if it is forced to earn more minutes. Repeated misses by an alpha scorer may have the secondary scorer getting frustrated. All of that kind of bubbles up and is a fluid situation during a game. Basically a long winded way of saying that the shots tend to fall for everyone when others are making but the increase in pressure as each shot bricks tends to lead to a vicious cycle.

Which is why basketball conventional wisdom generally says that when the shots aren’t falling it is important to see the ball go through the net a few times. A layup or an easier jumper to get a feel and break some of that tension can really open things up for a scorer or a teammate. I think when people get frustrated by the Celtics just bombing away it’s not that they want or expect the team to stop shooting 3s all game but instead would like to see them”earn” their way back to those shots by working as a team to just pile up a few makes and build some overall team momentum.

My personal opinion is that all of this flows from their lousy defense. When they do get stops and steals and get running they get some of those easy baskets and can create a type of shooting momentum. They keep giving up a lot of huge quarters which puts pressure on them to score to keep up and means they’re usually doing that against completely set defenses which puts a lot of pressure on their half court execution. Not wanting to go full Tommy here but they have a really long and athletic set of wings who would really benefit being on the fast break more but that can’t happen without defensive stops
I realize we can get into some deep epistemic vs aleatoric uncertainty conversations most everyone probably wants to avoid here but I am pretty skeptical of this accepted basketball wisdom given that the cousin to this theory - the hot hand - has years of research behind it and the best they have found is a 1% bump in a player's FG% after making I think 4 in a row.
 

Hendoo

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People tend to bring this up about the 3s, and with certain players it might make sense, like where you see Fournier consistently short and clearly fatigued, but I absolutely do not understand the logic that you should stop shooting threes if you haven't been making them throughout the game. If a guy is a 40% shooter from downtown, like say Jaylen Brown, and he is 1-8 through three quarters (just a hypothetical), I absolutely want him to still be taking them if they are open in the 4th. Do people really disagree?
You ignored the second part of what I said. It isn’t just that they bombed so many and missed. Too many of the misses were early in the clock and many others were followed with what looked like a lack of effort to rebound or get back on defense after the miss. This year, poor shooting does seem to affect effort on this team.
 

lovegtm

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You ignored the second part of what I said. It isn’t just that they bombed so many and missed. Too many of the misses were early in the clock and many others were followed with what looked like a lack of effort to rebound or get back on defense after the miss. This year, poor shooting does seem to affect effort on this team.
Yeah, it wasn't the misses; it was that so many of them came from a lack of effort to work a good possession, followed by an incredible lack of effort on the defensive end. Literally no one was at the nail all night, which is why Scal kept harping on OKC getting middle. Shockingly bad attention to defensive detail for a Celtics team (in the Stevens era).
 

Eddie Jurak

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Meh, I like extending the game here especially agaiant a team inexperienced in closing out games. One missed FT and you can attack the rim to make it a 2-point game. They make both you have a chance to get a quick 2 to reset the same sequence or look for a 3 to cut the lead to 2.

Even if we get a stop and the ball with 6-7 seconds to go then OKC can quickly foul to never even give us a shot at a 3 to tie. I agree with Brad on this one.
The only thing about the end game that surprised me is Boston trapping with ~45 seconds left down 3. Seemed early at that point.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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But this Celtics team doesn’t have a lot of gifted shooters.
The two biggest culprits last night were Smart and Fournier (3-19 between the 2; Smart was 0-9 before hitting the final one down 9). Fournier certainly is a gifted shooter, at least when he's not recovering from COVID. People will say different things about Smart but it's not like he was taking contested 3Ps off the dribble.

If a team can successfully go under screens the entire game, it makes defense a lot easier to play.
 

Strike4

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It's so hard to see in real time but the biggest issue is team defense - like, 50% effort closeouts, optional help defense, 50% effort on rebounds, moving too slowly in the lane. The cascade effect of this is really big. This team would have won even with atrocious shooting if they could just pull it together for more than 5 minutes.
 

Hendoo

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It's so hard to see in real time but the biggest issue is team defense - like, 50% effort closeouts, optional help defense, 50% effort on rebounds, moving too slowly in the lane. The cascade effect of this is really big. This team would have won even with atrocious shooting if they could just pull it together for more than 5 minutes.
Exactly what I am seeing.
 

kfoss99

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We're a Celtics thread, but how much of the C's problems aren't unique to them?

Heat, Pacers, and Toronto are all middling in the East and were all good playoff teams, last year.

I'd imagine the Harold Miner and Rik Smits Port Cellars are having similar conversations.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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We're a Celtics thread, but how much of the C's problems aren't unique to them?

Heat, Pacers, and Toronto are all middling in the East and were all good playoff teams, last year.

I'd imagine the Harold Miner and Rik Smits Port Cellars are having similar conversations.
This is a great point. Celtics fans who think the sky is falling - and this season has been difficult to watch no doubt - need only surf over to Heat, Blazers, Warriors, Mavs, Pacers, Raptors or even Lakers Twitter if they want to feel like they aren't alone. Apparently everyone got derailed on an 72-0 run to the playoffs this season.
 

Cesar Crespo

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This is a great point. Celtics fans who think the sky is falling - and this season has been difficult to watch no doubt - need only surf over to Heat, Blazers, Warriors, Mavs, Pacers, Raptors or even Lakers Twitter if they want to feel like they aren't alone. Apparently everyone got derailed on an 72-0 run to the playoffs this season.
That's one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is all teams are going through this so it's just an excuse. Like you said, the C's aren't alone.
 

Devizier

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It could be indicative that the teams that arent going through this (eg Jazz) are better coached and assembled. Of course the playoffs will reveal all.
 

chilidawg

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This is a great point. Celtics fans who think the sky is falling - and this season has been difficult to watch no doubt - need only surf over to Heat, Blazers, Warriors, Mavs, Pacers, Raptors or even Lakers Twitter if they want to feel like they aren't alone. Apparently everyone got derailed on an 72-0 run to the playoffs this season.
And yet a number of teams have outperformed expectations, Knicks, Hawks, Jazz and Hornets certainly come to mind. It's not impossible to play well this year.
 

RetractableRoof

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Meh, I like extending the game here especially agaiant a team inexperienced in closing out games. One missed FT and you can attack the rim to make it a 2-point game. They make both you have a chance to get a quick 2 to reset the same sequence or look for a 3 to cut the lead to 2.

Even if we get a stop and the ball with 6-7 seconds to go then OKC can quickly foul to never even give us a shot at a 3 to tie. I agree with Brad on this one.
I'm going to quibble with the bolded for a moment. If they had the ability/inclination to attack the rim as you suggest, perhaps doing it the whole game would have left them in a position where they weren't down late? This would be an alternative strategy to the 4-24 for 3 point shots that was estimated in the game thread. I didn't watch them game, so it's a genuine question - if your statement is correct, shouldn't that have been the approach before that moment in the game?
 

slamminsammya

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I'm going to quibble with the bolded for a moment. If they had the ability/inclination to attack the rim as you suggest, perhaps doing it the whole game would have left them in a position where they weren't down late? This would be an alternative strategy to the 4-24 for 3 point shots that was estimated in the game thread. I didn't watch them game, so it's a genuine question - if your statement is correct, shouldn't that have been the approach before that moment in the game?
The strategy in the last minute of a game where you are trying to cut a lead does not have particularly strong implications for how a team ought to approach the first 47 minutes no.
 

RetractableRoof

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The strategy in the last minute of a game where you are trying to cut a lead does not have particularly strong implications for how a team ought to approach the first 47 minutes no.
Sure, if you want to make that statement, go with it. Then the question is, on what basis do we just assume they can successfully "attack the rim" in crunch time?
 

slamminsammya

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Sure, if you want to make that statement, go with it. Then the question is, on what basis do we just assume they can successfully "attack the rim" in crunch time?
When a team is protecting a lead its extremely common to see them sell out to defend the three with the tradeoff that forays to the hoop are generally much more successful than they otherwise would be.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Sure, if you want to make that statement, go with it. Then the question is, on what basis do we just assume they can successfully "attack the rim" in crunch time?
That's being results orientated. Do you assume this team can do anything successfully other than lose in crunch time?
 

RetractableRoof

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When a team is protecting a lead its extremely common to see them sell out to defend the three with the tradeoff that forays to the hoop are generally much more successful than they otherwise would be.
Cool, and if they don't because we've spent all night proving we can't reliably hit shit for 3s, then we just crash and burn. Got it. [Caveat, I didn't watch the game, this is second hand angst.]

I know that sounds snarky, and I'm not really intending to aim at you (or HRB for that matter). You are both probably right, but in the face of the original comment, I'm frustrated at the 'idea' that they can attempt to win the game by doing something that might have been a more successful approach all game.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'm frustrated at the 'idea' that they can attempt to win the game by doing something that might have been a more successful approach all game.

That falls on Brad Stevens.

This team seems to play in spurts more so than any other team I can remember recently. They always seem to be digging themselves out of 15 point holes. They look awful and then for a 5-6 minute stretch they look like NBA title contenders just to get the game close enough to win but never actually do win. I think that's what is most maddening about it because people talk about all the missed time but every game they show us what they are capable of for a brief moment, regardless of who is out.

They know how to play winning basketball, they just don't play that way most of the time for whatever reason.
 

pjheff

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Yeah, it wasn't the misses; it was that so many of them came from a lack of effort to work a good possession, followed by an incredible lack of effort on the defensive end.
This is it. This team is not consistently willing to put in the effort at either end of the court necessary to play good basketball, and the coach doesn’t have another team to put on the floor.

I. Good teams can beat you in a variety of ways.
II. The Celtics cannot beat you in a variety of ways.
Ergo, the Celtics are not a good team.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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And yet a number of teams have outperformed expectations, Knicks, Hawks, Jazz and Hornets certainly come to mind. It's not impossible to play well this year.
Ex the Hawks every team you have listed is amongst the tops in games played with the same line-up. The Celtics have a better record than the Hornets and despite losing to them the other day (and tonight for those who are already prepared) CHA is 3-7 over their last ten games vs the Celtics 6-4. Atlanta has a lot of noise with their coaching change so its really hard to tease out whether the relative health of their young core (obviously that changed with Young's recent injury) is what has led to their recent success or if its more the coaching change. As with most things in life, its probably a combination of factors.
 
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Major minutes for Pritchard--hopefully he still has the hot 3 hand.

I have no idea what ails the Celtics, but if Smart is part of that problem, perhaps it is time to part ways this summer. I don't think he will be worth his next contract.
 

Cesar Crespo

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So what you’re saying is this team is undefeated when everyone plays. Hope!
Didn't really have a point but I do think TT and TL are the 3rd and 4th most important players on the team behind Tatum and Brown.

Someone said it in the game thread but those are the 4 crucial players. We can win a series in the playoffs missing anyone else imo. Doesn't mean we will.
 

Jimbodandy

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Didn't really have a point but I do think TT and TL are the 3rd and 4th most important players on the team behind Tatum and Brown.

Someone said it in the game thread but those are the 4 crucial players. We can win a series in the playoffs missing anyone else imo. Doesn't mean we will.
I agree with this.

Stevens can compensate for anyone else in a series with other players on the roster.
 

128

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He still has a long way to go, but Fournier hit two 3s tonite, which is a positive sign.
 

benhogan

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Didn't really have a point but I do think TT and TL are the 3rd and 4th most important players on the team behind Tatum and Brown.

Someone said it in the game thread but those are the 4 crucial players. We can win a series in the playoffs missing anyone else imo. Doesn't mean we will.
why is a 20-minute player a 3rd or 4th most important player? that makes next to no sense
 

Cesar Crespo

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why is a 20-minute player a 3rd or 4th most important player? that makes next to no sense
because of the drop back to Kornet. TL is probably playing 25 minutes a night regardless of TT's health. TT is probably only playing around 25 minutes a night regardless of TL's health.

Basically, Luke Kornet sucks. Maybe Brad would amp up TL or TT's minutes in the playoffs if one were injured though.
 

benhogan

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because of the drop back to Kornet. TL is probably playing 25 minutes a night regardless of TT's health. TT is probably only playing around 25 minutes a night regardless of TL's health.

Basically, Luke Kornet sucks. Maybe Brad would amp up TL or TT's minutes in the playoffs if one were injured though.
Kemba is a lot more important to the Celtics success than Tristen Thompson ...so are Smart and Fournier the wing drop off to Grant/Semi this season has been rough
 

teddykgb

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I’ve been really down on them all season. Really angry about the effort on defense and just the general malaise. The first half tonight was about as bad a half of basketball as you’re going to see.

I think the second half convinced me that those of you who are preaching covid, bubble, and patience are probably right. I don’t really have high hopes for this season as whatever has taxed their ability to compete like that regularly probably doesn’t get solved without a full offseason. But I needed to see them actually hit those heightsand play at that level for a sustained period just to believe they still had it in them. I don’t see this win as a turning point because it took a ton just to eke it out but in my head I’m going to try to just recalibrate myself own expectations of this team and trust that they’ll be there on the other side next season.

Tatums growth as a basketball player over the last 6 weeks is immense. The shots falling are of course great. But the increase in assists and the hard drives to the hoop are forcing teams to guard him from the 3 point line to the rim. It makes him more dangerous and more reliable. There’s still way too many possessions where he dribbles too much and kills the offense but he is taking the coaching eventually and if he can keep getting to the rim and finishing he really can hit that top 5/10 player ceiling
 

luckiestman

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but he is taking the coaching eventually and if he can keep getting to the rim and finishing he really can hit that top 5/10 player ceiling
I figure top 7 in front of Wilt, edited because LBJ not on here

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