Analysis of Celtics Games, '21-'22 Season

lexrageorge

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That anonymous quote about Tatum wasn't worth the used toilet paper it was printed on. Glad to see Stevens come out swinging in defense of his player. I still say the anonymous assistant was a former player that got dunked on and trashed talk by Tatum in a big way in some random game a couple of seasons ago.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Like it or not, this topic has been seriously discussed in this very forum. There are people who have never met or interacted with Jayson Tatum who believe he doesn't care about winning. They might be right but based on what we know, it seems silly on its face.
 

RorschachsMask

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Here is the full quote.



This fits with what Ime said a few weeks ago.

“That’s probably in the rearview now. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a focus until guys were missing with Al and Jaylen going out (in the preseason),” he said. “Then, the focus became figuring out lineups and rotations and all that. As I mentioned, they all do it in different ways. Jayson is a guy who does it on the court everyday here, maybe not as vocal as other guys but Al and Marcus do it in their own way and Jaylen brings some as well.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Like it or not, this topic has been seriously discussed in this very forum. There are people who have never met or interacted with Jayson Tatum who believe he doesn't care about winning. They might be right but based on what we know, it seems silly on its face.
Were we discussing Tatum caring about his stats or not caring about winning? I recall the former which I agree that all young players care about their stats but that isn’t to say they don’t care about winning. Tatum putting up points and numbers goes a long way toward us winning.
 

bakahump

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Right. I think all players care about winning. I mean in a vacuum "Do you want to win or lose?" "uhhh seriously?"
And as HRB says they want to get their money.....I mean stats. If they can do both, awesome. If they can do one.....well thats the question.

Luckily JT doesnt seem to be in that situation. He knows they can win AND his stats are a big part of that. Plus he has gotten his money so scoring 26, when he could have scored 31 on 12 more shots, seems fine with him. Add in that we have SEEN him actively doing the "little things" (IE not scoring). Like WILLINGLY passing more to open teammates and Rebounding more, Not forcing when he is obviously having an off night. The guy wants to win.

How based on all that anyone can say "JT doesnt care about winning" seems silly.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Jesus. Six seconds left, Tatum having a good game, one basket ices it, and you run a play where he is wholly uninvolved - just watches Schroder predictably fuck it up. So stupid.

win anyway on a Rob block
I haven't watched the second half of the game yet, but if memory serves, DS has been getting the ball in late game situations more than one time before last night.

If there are any intrepid reporters reading our forum, it would seem to be an interesting question to ask Ime.
 

bakahump

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DS has been getting the ball. And if memory serves (and thats a big If....) I seem to recall that in many of those situations (like last night) with 5-10 seconds.... They had 5 guys all around the 3 point line. Daring someone to drop into the lane and help with the potential DS drives. If they did....I assume that DS would simply pass to whoever was open, swinging until they got a good shot.

Why those DS drives (that are so nasty in qtr 2) seem to be stopped more in qtr 4, even without obvious help, is a good question
 

bakahump

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On a different topic,
was anyone else really impressed with the game plan for Embiid? The two bigs lineup....then using both those BIGs to double seemed to work really well.
Jaylen, Marcus and JT did well when they had to but it really seemed like Al or RWill figting him in the post with the other coming to help was the plan.
I dont watch enough non Celts games. Do other teams do that or do they just double with the closest guys (RWill and marcus for instance).
 

HomeRunBaker

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I haven't watched the second half of the game yet, but if memory serves, DS has been getting the ball in late game situations more than one time before last night.

If there are any intrepid reporters reading our forum, it would seem to be an interesting question to ask Ime.
Matchups and his ability to create his own shot. As I’ve always preached you don’t want to be running a ball movement set on end of game possessions when defenses are at their most aggressive/focused.
 

Jimbodandy

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Matchups and his ability to create his own shot. As I’ve always preached you don’t want to be running a ball movement set on end of game possessions when defenses are at their most aggressive/focused.
Exactly correct. It also explains why he doesn't have as easy of a path to the rim in crunch time. Defenses tighten up, refs often eat whistles. That's all the more reason to have a guy like DS out there.
 

benhogan

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On a different topic,
was anyone else really impressed with the game plan for Embiid? The two bigs lineup....then using both those BIGs to double seemed to work really well.
Jaylen, Marcus and JT did well when they had to but it really seemed like Al or RWill figting him in the post with the other coming to help was the plan.
I dont watch enough non Celts games. Do other teams do that or do they just double with the closest guys (RWill and marcus for instance).
2BIGZ and then forcing Kanter minutes can add value against the 76ers. I think we named a few teams in the preseason where it works (Milwaukee? Pacers?)
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Cs now 5th in opponents points per 100 possessions. People have noted the Cs defensive improvement - in particular, they using double-teams pretty effectively from my viewpoint. DOBOBS must be wondering what he could have done defensively if he didn't have to regularly play folks like KW, Waters, Edwards, less mobile GW (etc.).

The last play in particular is really, as Forsberg put it, a "master class." Note that while Curry's motion is probably not the main option, Smart stays with him. Of bigger importance, JT and JB execute the Green/Harris switch flawlessly, and then Al recognizes that Embiid has put a really good pick on JB so he picks up Harris. JB does a very good job of bodying up Embiid while - and this is super important - keeps ball pressure on Harris so he can't even begin to look for the mismatch. Note that JT is in the perfect spot to pinch Harris and still be able to get back to Green AND that TL is also keeping an eye on the Embiid/JB battle.

When Harris drives, he can't turn the corner and is doubled by JT. Maybe the better pass is to Green but that's a hard play to make and if he makes it, you tip your cap. But Niang also looks open and against most mere mortals he probably would have had an open look but when Harris starts to pass, TL reacts, takes one step, and gets to Niang without fouling him with 00.1 on the clock - think about that, TL takes one step out of the key and he can block Niang's corner 3P.

Very well done. Didn't see a lot of this last year.

View: https://twitter.com/NBCSCeltics/status/1466240805258018817?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
 

Jimbodandy

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Cs now 5th in opponents points per 100 possessions. People have noted the Cs defensive improvement - in particular, they using double-teams pretty effectively from my viewpoint. DOBOBS must be wondering what he could have done defensively if he didn't have to regularly play folks like KW, Waters, Edwards, less mobile GW (etc.).

The last play in particular is really, as Forsberg put it, a "master class." Note that while Curry's motion is probably not the main option, Smart stays with him. Of bigger importance, JT and JB execute the Green/Harris switch flawlessly, and then Al recognizes that Embiid has put a really good pick on JB so he picks up Harris. JB does a very good job of bodying up Embiid while - and this is super important - keeps ball pressure on Harris so he can't even begin to look for the mismatch. Note that JT is in the perfect spot to pinch Harris and still be able to get back to Green AND that TL is also keeping an eye on the Embiid/JB battle.

When Harris drives, he can't turn the corner and is doubled by JT. Maybe the better pass is to Green but that's a hard play to make and if he makes it, you tip your cap. But Niang also looks open and against most mere mortals he probably would have had an open look but when Harris starts to pass, TL reacts, takes one step, and gets to Niang without fouling him with 00.1 on the clock - think about that, TL takes one step out of the key and he can block Niang's corner 3P.

Very well done. Didn't see a lot of this last year.

View: https://twitter.com/NBCSCeltics/status/1466240805258018817?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Fantastic writeup. Thanks for that.
 

bigq

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Cs now 5th in opponents points per 100 possessions. People have noted the Cs defensive improvement - in particular, they using double-teams pretty effectively from my viewpoint. DOBOBS must be wondering what he could have done defensively if he didn't have to regularly play folks like KW, Waters, Edwards, less mobile GW (etc.).

The last play in particular is really, as Forsberg put it, a "master class." Note that while Curry's motion is probably not the main option, Smart stays with him. Of bigger importance, JT and JB execute the Green/Harris switch flawlessly, and then Al recognizes that Embiid has put a really good pick on JB so he picks up Harris. JB does a very good job of bodying up Embiid while - and this is super important - keeps ball pressure on Harris so he can't even begin to look for the mismatch. Note that JT is in the perfect spot to pinch Harris and still be able to get back to Green AND that TL is also keeping an eye on the Embiid/JB battle.

When Harris drives, he can't turn the corner and is doubled by JT. Maybe the better pass is to Green but that's a hard play to make and if he makes it, you tip your cap. But Niang also looks open and against most mere mortals he probably would have had an open look but when Harris starts to pass, TL reacts, takes one step, and gets to Niang without fouling him with 00.1 on the clock - think about that, TL takes one step out of the key and he can block Niang's corner 3P.

Very well done. Didn't see a lot of this last year.

View: https://twitter.com/NBCSCeltics/status/1466240805258018817?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Holy crap that was a great summary. Thanks for sharing.
 

benhogan

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Cs now 5th in opponents points per 100 possessions. People have noted the Cs defensive improvement - in particular, they using double-teams pretty effectively from my viewpoint. DOBOBS must be wondering what he could have done defensively if he didn't have to regularly play folks like KW, Waters, Edwards, less mobile GW (etc.).

The last play in particular is really, as Forsberg put it, a "master class." Note that while Curry's motion is probably not the main option, Smart stays with him. Of bigger importance, JT and JB execute the Green/Harris switch flawlessly, and then Al recognizes that Embiid has put a really good pick on JB so he picks up Harris. JB does a very good job of bodying up Embiid while - and this is super important - keeps ball pressure on Harris so he can't even begin to look for the mismatch. Note that JT is in the perfect spot to pinch Harris and still be able to get back to Green AND that TL is also keeping an eye on the Embiid/JB battle.

When Harris drives, he can't turn the corner and is doubled by JT. Maybe the better pass is to Green but that's a hard play to make and if he makes it, you tip your cap. But Niang also looks open and against most mere mortals he probably would have had an open look but when Harris starts to pass, TL reacts, takes one step, and gets to Niang without fouling him with 00.1 on the clock - think about that, TL takes one step out of the key and he can block Niang's corner 3P.

Very well done. Didn't see a lot of this last year.

View: https://twitter.com/NBCSCeltics/status/1466240805258018817?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Echo the others, nice recap Wade

I mentioned it last night in the game thread but that's a great situational coaching job by IME. He subbed in Rob for Dennis for that last defensive possession.

So as much as I have criticized 2BIGZ, it's undoubtedly defensively efficient in the halfcourt, esp. over the last minute. So credit to those that felt/feel 2BIGZ has merit (& it does, situationally)

Also note: TL made the inbound pass really difficult and Harris received the ball in a terrible position going away from the rim.
 

Euclis20

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I know it's not super popular, but I really love the 2 big lineup in general. Their standard starting group (Smart/Brown/Tatum/TL/Horford) has logged the most minutes of any 5 man unit and is +22.1 points per 100 possessions. Compared with every other team's most used lineups, this is third behind Milwaukee (Allen/Giannis/Holiday/Middleton/Portis is +24.8) and Minnesota (Beverly/Edwards/Russell/Towns/Vanderbilt is, somehow, +45.3). The biggest drawbacks in my mind are the potential overuse of Horford/TL and the fact that it requires Kanter to get minutes over a deeper group of wings, but on the court it's really been excellent.
 

benhogan

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I know it's not super popular, but I really love the 2 big lineup in general. Their standard starting group (Smart/Brown/Tatum/TL/Horford) has logged the most minutes of any 5 man unit and is +22.1 points per 100 possessions. Compared with every other team's most used lineups, this is third behind Milwaukee (Allen/Giannis/Holiday/Middleton/Portis is +24.8) and Minnesota (Beverly/Edwards/Russell/Towns/Vanderbilt is, somehow, +45.3). The biggest drawbacks in my mind are the potential overuse of Horford/TL and the fact that it requires Kanter to get minutes over a deeper group of wings, but on the court it's really been excellent.
Agree with the 2 drawbacks, which are the biggest concerns (TL injury history /Al's age + Kanter minutes).

BUT they are working very well and EKF minutes have been good (as long as he plays w/4 good defenders)

IME needs to be cognizant of Horford and Rob's use. No more 40mpg experiments, play them ~25mpg & give 12-14mpg to EKF

Most importantly, IME needs to figure out his best offensive and defensive units so he can go situational in late/tight (which should be greater w/scoring down)
 

slamminsammya

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The game against the Jazz was their best game I have watched. The defensive energy I thought was really something we never saw last year. It was just that the Jazz were not missing anything. A lot of those 3s were well contested and its a real testament to the team that they had a solid chance to win the game at the end despite that.
 

lovegtm

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The game against the Jazz was their best game I have watched. The defensive energy I thought was really something we never saw last year. It was just that the Jazz were not missing anything. A lot of those 3s were well contested and its a real testament to the team that they had a solid chance to win the game at the end despite that.
Yeah, this is why you don't apologize for booking the ugly wins like Philly. Sometimes you do things right and the other team goes 27-51 from 3.
 

lexrageorge

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Curious which we consider "better"?

A high-scoring team with a lot of shooters but a leaky defense. Or a team with lockdown defenders that can struggle to score at times.

Which is easier to fix during the season via trades and coaching adjustments?
 

lovegtm

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In 20-21 and early this year, whenever the Celtics would give up a lot of 3s, I'd turn off the TV in disgust, because it was almost always due to poor effort, botched switches, bigs not getting up to the level of the shooter, etc. In this game it really just felt like the Jazz made shots, and I'm enjoying watching the replay right now, which is not the norm for these types of games.
 

RorschachsMask

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Tatum’s three ball is still an issue, though in the second half of last night, think it looked as natural and good as it has all season, even if he only hit 2-5 or whatever it was.

At the rim though? Over the last 15 games he’s shooting 65% in the restricted area, and it’s 67% over the last 10 games. He was at 68% last year, and IIRC, that only trailed LeBron/Giannis, excluding centers. So he’s been an elite finisher since the brutal first 5ish games.

Loving his shot profile, he’s at a career high in both FTr and 3PAr. Once the three gets better, it’s going to be incredible to watch. I have a feeling he goes like 6-11 or something crazy from deep tonight, and goes on a burner from outside.
 

RorschachsMask

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Nice piece in the athletic about Tatum, and his shooting struggles. It’s pretty long, but here are some good excerpts.

The buckets just haven’t come as easily this season. Tatum knows it. He is trying to work through it. He said he has dug into the film, attempting to figure out what he needs to fix. He hasn’t changed much else about his daily routine, saying he always puts up extra shots and always stays in the gym later than anyone else. He said he hasn’t gotten angry about his inconsistency, either.

“I don’t get mad,” Tatum said. “It’s frustrating, but I think it’s part of it.”

It’s going to be all right,” Tatum said. “It’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of games left. I’m not going to panic (when things go poorly) or get too excited when shit’s going well. Just kind of stay the course and just take it one day at a time.”
“I think that’s just the world we live in,” Tatum said. “They’re always just going to talk about what you’re doing. Never about what you’ve accomplished and stuff like that. It’s just what you’re doing right now. And I think that’s what kind of drives some players. It’s like, don’t be complacent. I’m always focused on what I can do next. And I’m sure the narrative will change when we get to the championship one day. So we’ll see.”
“I laughed,” he said. “I think when people get upset or you get a reaction out of somebody, it’s probably because they feel like it’s kind of true. But I just laughed because I know it’s not true. I know my teammates, my coaches, anybody I’ve ever been around, selfish is the last thing.”

Gregg Popovich would likely agree. Before a game against the Celtics last week, the Spurscoach called himself “indebted” to Tatum for the sacrifices he made while spending the summer with Team USA. Popovich said Tatum, who emerged as one of the team’s leading scorers despite coming off the bench, was “a great teammate” throughout the event. Popovich said for most of the coaches, winning the gold medal with that group counted as “one of the best experiences we ever had.”

“Guys like Jayson made that happen,” Popovich said. “So we’re really grateful to him.”
“Being in the Conference Finals two out of my first four years, expectations are extremely high,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather people talk about me good or bad than not say anything about me. So I guess it’s just part of it.”

Tatum doesn’t expect his shooting problems to last forever. The flurry of big scoring nights hasn’t come yet for him this season, but he believes it’s on the way. Until then, he intends to embrace the struggle.

“Then,” he said, “when you have those crazy runs, those big nights, going through the tough times make that feel so much better.”
https://theathletic.com/2996822/2021/12/04/jayson-tatum-laughs-off-selfish-label-but-knows-he-has-to-play-better-for-the-celtics-its-going-to-be-all-right/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
 
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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Anyone worried about Tatum's character and focus should read the Athletic piece @RorschachsMask links to a few posts back. They are just words but they seem like the right ones. Furthermore, it speaks volumes about his maturity - he seems to have pretty good perspective for a 23 year old.
 

lovegtm

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Anyone worried about Tatum's character and focus should read the Athletic piece @RorschachsMask links to a few posts back. They are just words but they seem like the right ones. Furthermore, it speaks volumes about his maturity - he seems to have pretty good perspective for a 23 year old.
It's pretty easy to believe that the words are genuine when you've followed his whole career as we have. Excited to read the article.
 

Jimbodandy

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The game against the Jazz was their best game I have watched. The defensive energy I thought was really something we never saw last year. It was just that the Jazz were not missing anything. A lot of those 3s were well contested and its a real testament to the team that they had a solid chance to win the game at the end despite that.
Yep. First quarter in particular. Bombs five feet past the line over contests.

The other guys are good too. Sometimes you throw a fantastic sinking fastball 3" off the plate outside, and the other guy takes you deep.

It was a pretty encouraging game.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Everyone largely played well. But until Nesmith, Pritchard et al can do it consistently, it still feels like they need more scoring. Even when Brown returns and even with Tatum rounding into form.

I suspect they will target this at the deadline absent a larger deal but maybe not. It would be ideal to source it in-house for a variety of reasons outside of cost.
 

jon abbey

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Curious which we consider "better"?

A high-scoring team with a lot of shooters but a leaky defense. Or a team with lockdown defenders that can struggle to score at times.

Which is easier to fix during the season via trades and coaching adjustments?
This is something I’ve thought a lot about this season after the Knicks (intentionally) replaced defense with offense last offseason, and I think it’s different in the regular season and in the playoffs. In the regular season, I think it’s better to have a bad offensive/great defensive team as defense tends to be a constant whereas every team has terrible shooting games.

But in the playoffs, there are more off days and everyone’s effort level is at max, so even bad defenders generally move up to OK but you need great offense to be competitive.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Everyone largely played well. But until Nesmith, Pritchard et al can do it consistently, it still feels like they need more scoring. Even when Brown returns and even with Tatum rounding into form.

I suspect they will target this at the deadline absent a larger deal but maybe not. It would be ideal to source it in-house for a variety of reasons outside of cost.
Yeah let’s see us put up some good offensive performances that isn’t against the 30th worst defensive team in a 30-team league. It was a nice win and breakthrough game for many but that was in essentially an indoor Rucker League game and not against NBA defense. We need to build off this.
 

chilidawg

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Yeah let’s see us put up some good offensive performances that isn’t against the 30th worst defensive team in a 30-team league. It was a nice win and breakthrough game for many but that was in essentially an indoor Rucker League game and not against NBA defense. We need to build off this.
Well the Utah game was a pretty damn good offensive show as well, and they're actually good on both ends. Two games to build off.
 

lovegtm

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Well the Utah game was a pretty damn good offensive show as well, and they're actually good on both ends. Two games to build off.
I probably am forgetting some really good stretches by the really good 2019-2020 team, but I can't recall a stretch of defensive effort as good as this past month since the 2017-2018 Celtics.

(The 19-20 team probably did have such stretches and I'm forgetting, but that was a more offensive-weighted group, particularly with Kemba's strengths and limitations.)
 

benhogan

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This is something I’ve thought a lot about this season after the Knicks (intentionally) replaced defense with offense last offseason, and I think it’s different in the regular season and in the playoffs. In the regular season, I think it’s better to have a bad offensive/great defensive team as defense tends to be a constant whereas every team has terrible shooting games.

But in the playoffs, there are more off days and everyone’s effort level is at max, so even bad defenders generally move up to OK but you need great offense to be competitive.
Another thing to consider about adding good offense/bad defense players (Kemba/EF) is you can only really hide one bad defensive player on the floor at a time. Also, bad defense is contagious, a lot of it is effort/discipline, teammates get fed up when their defensive assignments get easy baskets because they helped with your guy. Plus upgrading your 4th or 5th offensive option on the floor isn't worth sacrificing defense. Ultimately you want the 4th/5th offensive players to be screen setters and a corner 3-pt threat.

Not sure if I agree that having offense over defense works better during the playoffs. Trust us, come playoff time good teams will hunt down that shrimpy PG. Brad schemed like hell to hide IT against the Wizards a few years back when he was 3rd in the MVP voting.

Knicks had a magical year last season. Thibs voice was heard, they had a top 5 defense. Slowed down the pace, played a halfcourt game with 5 of the top 6 mpg players shooting over 40% from three. Starting Kemba was a mistake, maybe make him a Lou Williams type against 2nd units so his defense won't get as exploited.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I probably am forgetting some really good stretches by the really good 2019-2020 team, but I can't recall a stretch of defensive effort as good as this past month since the 2017-2018 Celtics.

(The 19-20 team probably did have such stretches and I'm forgetting, but that was a more offensive-weighted group, particularly with Kemba's strengths and limitations.)
2019-20 Cs were 4th in the league in DRtg (107.6; MIL was 1st at 102.9) and IIRC, except for the first couple of games in the bubble, they were really good on defense. GH, JB, JT, and MS were really good at locking guys down and DT played very good defense against most teams.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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DS up to 35.8% from 3P land, which we all would have taken at the beginning of the season.

But this Globe article has what I think is a more important point (bold added):

The Celtics said the offense has been invigorated by an emphasis on playing with pace. Players have not been standing around and watching either Schröder or Tatum pound the ball onto the court for seconds at a time.
This season, 31.5 percent of Schröder’s shots have come after he took at least seven dribbles. He understands that figure is simply too high, and this hot stretch has offered further evidence of that.
“We play fast, move the ball,” Schroder said. “I think when we do that, we’re going to be in great shape. I think that’s what we have to focus on. Not too much iso, and somebody switched on me, [so] wait for the iso … I think we just have to get that ball rolling out there, and everybody touches it. It starts with me.”​

Hopefully his dribbling numbers will start coming down.
 

HomeRunBaker

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DS up to 35.8% from 3P land, which we all would have taken at the beginning of the season.

But this Globe article has what I think is a more important point (bold added):

The Celtics said the offense has been invigorated by an emphasis on playing with pace. Players have not been standing around and watching either Schröder or Tatum pound the ball onto the court for seconds at a time.
This season, 31.5 percent of Schröder’s shots have come after he took at least seven dribbles. He understands that figure is simply too high, and this hot stretch has offered further evidence of that.
“We play fast, move the ball,” Schroder said. “I think when we do that, we’re going to be in great shape. I think that’s what we have to focus on. Not too much iso, and somebody switched on me, [so] wait for the iso … I think we just have to get that ball rolling out there, and everybody touches it. It starts with me.”​

Hopefully his dribbling numbers will start coming down.
Meh, he is saying what all teams in the bottom third of the league in Pace says. Have you ever heard of a team saying it wants to play slower? Everyone wants to play with Pace…..executing it against NBA level defenses looking to prevent this is a different story.