(Photo Courtesy of the Concord Monitor)
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
38 3pt attempts for the #Celtics. Only hit 13. They are very predictable offensively.
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) December 1, 2016
A few offensive possessions in the third quarter of last night’s game included 4 (trust my counting, I have no other hard evidence) drive and kick actions, where a Celtics ball-handler would charge into the lane, look up to see Andre Drummond, or Aron Baynes and immediately throw the ball back out to a player on the perimeter. That perimeter player would then do the same exact thing.
The Celtics offense hasn’t been the problem in the first month-plus of the NBA season (we’ve beaten rebounding to death), and they put up 114 points per game, but in addition to a predictable offense, the Cs reliance on the three-point shot isn’t sustainable on a night-to-night basis.
When this team is clicking at 2015-16 levels (hopefully soon), defense is going to be what wins them a majority of games against solid-to-good teams in the league. Last night the Pistons offense was completely in rhythm– even a near perfect defensive effort from the Celtics might not have stopped it. When the Cs have to go toe-to-toe and get buckets, the only guy who can consistently get into the teeth of the defense and force its complete collapse into the paint is Isaiah. Last night proved that whenever anyone else dared take the ball into the paint, they immediately thought better of it and kicked the ball back out, leading to a plethora of 3s late in possessions.
When the Celtics offense needs to win games, they’ll need to be less predictable and less reliant on the 3.
On page 2, shoot it, Al!
Al Horford has never been a high-volume shooter, evident by him never averaging more than 14.5 shots per game in a season (2014).
But in Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, there were lots of numbers that left the Celtics scratching their heads afterwards.
Horford taking just five shots from the field?
That’s one of them.
CSNNE – Stars, Studs and Duds
Since arriving in Boston this summer, many have made the Al Horford/Kevin Garnett comparison across a number of similarities: “Ultimate team player,” “a leader to whom players gravitate,” “guys who let Carmelo know his wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios” (wait, Horford never did that?).
Unselfish to a fault, might be another similarity, as there were numerous nights on which Kevin Garnett was urged to take over offensively and put up more shot attempts. Horford’s not the offensive threat KG was, but he’s close, and five shots in a hotly contested game is not enough. This isn’t all on Horford, as the rest of the Celtics offense, reliant on 3s, wasn’t exactly conducive to getting him an array of good looks, but there is a need for him to be more aggressive.
This is further evidence to some that Horford wasn’t worth a max contract (still a ludicrous claim), but if the Cs want to separate themselves from the glut in the Eastern Conference’s squishy middle, they’ll need a more assertive Horford and an offensive gameplan that features him a bit more.
Mass Live – Al Horford’s low shot total
And finally, November’s over… how’re you feeling?
It wasn’t a pretty night to give the home folks, and right now the Celtics are a middling 10-8. They have had some early season absences, but there were reasonable expectations that they would be better than this, even though, admittedly, the time when they truly need to be better than this is still months away.
“I don’t know . . . A tough loss tonight,” Jae Crowder said, assessing the Celtics stock as November was about to become December. “I didn’t think we were going to lose this game tonight. I can’t say if we were going to be further along or not. We had injuries early, and we’re just trying to figure it out. We’ll, I guess, go back and watch this one and get better.”
Boston Herald – Pistons rule over Celtics, logic
The Boston Celtics, who won 48 games last year, added Al Horford in the off-season and were pegged by many to flirt with 50+ wins this season, are barely above .500 as we hit December.
Concerned? Disappointed? Even Jae Crowder is unsure of how to feel given that the Cs are just now getting back to full strength. Last night’s loss was frustrating, given the Cs are, and have been a full unit for over a week now and were at home playing a team on the second night of a road-road back-to-back, but I’m going to reserve judgment for a little while longer– 8 more days, to be exact, because here’s what’s coming:
Three games against teams the Celtics should handle, whether home or away and one road game against a decent western conference foe that the Celtics can handle, and a Friday night at home against a Raptors team the Celtics need to handle to show they’re trending up.
If the Celtics come through this stretch and are sitting at 14-9 or even 13-10, I’ll continue to be optimistic, but if the Cs get out-rebounded by a big Orlando team and crap away one of the next two against the Kings or Sixers, consider me both angry and concerned.