Avery Bradley usually isn’t compared to Larry Bird. During one shot tonight, that changed. The fourth-year guard was in the right spot in the first quarter on Tuesday night, rebounding a Jared Sullinger airball under the basket. Knowing he needed to get off a shot before the shot clock expired, Bradley hoisted up a prayer [...]
We’ve talked about Jared Sullinger quite a bit this week, but he has been playing intriguingly well, so forgive us for continuing the trend. The “Should Sullinger be taking 3-pointers?” argument continues to rage, but last night presented compelling arguments for proponents of the strategy. I wrote about these shots specifically during the preseason, and [...]
Only five NBA teams are humiliated by a less effective offense than the one currently deployed by the Boston Celtics. But being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are a couple parts of that offense we should all be grateful for. (Most notably the fact that it’s run by Brad Stevens, a mastermind [...]
Last season, Jared Sullinger was whistled for 6.2 fouls per 36 minutes. In other words, statistically, even if the Celtics wanted to give him a starter’s minutes, he would foul out before the 36 minute mark. Some of that was on Sullinger — it takes a certain amount of time to adjust to the way [...]
In a playoff-less season, the Celtics really have only one thing to look forward to before lottery night: The return of Rajon Rondo. There are always a few indicators that a player is nearing his return, and one of the first ones is that he is returning to drills during practice. From Gary Washburn’s Twitter [...]
Trade talk hasn’t died down just yet in Boston. Days after Danny Ainge confirmed to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the team was engaged in discussions with other teams pertaining to their veteran pieces of the roster, we have another report surfacing today from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report on potential talks between the Celtics [...]
Carmelo Anthony isn’t involved in this game tonight, but for some reason the NBA has decided to go ahead with it anyway. The Celtics will open up the smaller half of the season in Oakland against the not-to-be-slept-on Golden State Warriors. Jeff Fogle of new Truehoop Network inductee Hoopdata pointed out recently that Golden State would be a playoff team today if the season started at the beginning of 2011. They’ve won seven of nine, beating the likes of Chicago, OKC, New Orleans, and Utah twice. There’s also the fact that the Celtics haven’t won in Oracle Arena since the start of the Big Three era.
The Warriors are the conceptual opposite of the Celtics at just about every position. They have a shoot-first point guard, a PF who doesn’t “get” defense, and a goofy Latvian center. Stuff is going to get wacky!
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO WELL
Shoot long. The Dubs only attempt threes at the league’s 9th-highest rate, but they convert them better than any team but the Spurs. There’s a lot of gunning talent on this team: the starters and backups at the 1, 2, and 3 can all drill it.
Shoot hilarious free throws.
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO POORLY
Rotate on defense. The Warriors are, by a huge margin, the league leader in Opposing Percentage Assisted, a stat that sounds obscure and irrelevant but actually isn’t. It’s just the percentage of field goals by the opposing team that were assisted on, and the Warriors are dominant in this area all over the court. They’re league highest in O%Ast at the rim, from midrange, from the long two, and from three, and they’re second from inside ten feet.
What does it take to get an assisted basket? It takes a player receiving the ball with enough space from his defender to immediately put up a shot. If a team sees that happen a lot for its opposition, it suggests to me that they miss a lot of defensive assignments as a group and that it’s easy to kill them with ball movement.
Get to the line. Worst in the league. Hard really to explain why this is…Monta Ellis is a slasher, but has no ability or inclination to draw fouls so he isn’t in the top 150 in the league at free throws per shot attempt. Neither is David Lee, their scoring big, probably because he’s almost halved his attempts at the rim this year in favor of long jumpers.
PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY
Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. Two preternatural scorers, one everyone loves and the other nobody loves enough. Curry is everyone’s favorite Dub because he looks like a young Jaden Smith and his shot is crazy/beautiful. So he gets away with having basically no personality to speak of.
Meanwhile, Ellis has been the leading scorer in seven of his last eight games. He gets a deserved bad rap as a ballhog, but the dude took the time to develop one of history’s best handshakes with a member of the arena staff, and that is good guy stuff.
Lou Amundson. Only because the NBA’s most surprising fact is related to him. Amundson is tall, white, has a tiny samurai topknot, and his last name is Amundson, but he’s not European. He’s American. He was born in Ventura and went to high school in Colorado. Think about that next time you start believing in something.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
David Lee. How often do you just straight up forget that David Lee is in the NBA? And then once every month or so someone mentions him out of nowhere and you’re like “Oh, right! David Lee! He went to the Warriors last year, right? How’s he doing over there?” Well, he’s not doing great. He’s declined in every conceivable stat category, Lou Amundsen and Dan Gadzuric have both been better rebounders, and his shooting percentage has fallen below 50 percent. That’s completely unacceptable for a center, especially one that now plays with the league’s best point guard (if you don’t agree, I encourage you to check the results of the Skills Challenge and get back to me).
That last line was a character I call “Guy Who Knows Nothing About Basketball But Is Still Really Confident About It For Some Reason.” Workshopping it for an acting class, would love your notes.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE
The Celtics bust out their standard ball-movement strategies, because there are open looks to go around against the Warriors. On the other end, rotations and strong closeouts to keep the Warriors honest from three. I’d also like to see Biedrins go to the line as much as possible.