Game 60/82: Warriors (27-33) @ Celtics (44-15) Open Thread
Posted by Ryan DeGama on Mar 4, 2011
Golden State at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 105.0 points/100 possessions (13th)
Golden State: 105.2 points/100 possessions (t-11th)
Boston: 97.6 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Golden State: 108.2 points allowed/100 possessions (27th)
Probable Golden State Starters: Stephen Curry (PG) Monta Ellis (SG) Dorell Wright (SF) Ekpe Udoh (PF) David Lee (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Warriors World
Thumbnail: The Celtics host their second straight defensively indifferent opponent in a rematch of the game in Oakland February 22 where the Celtics obliterated the Warriors. How bad was it? The Celtics racked up an offensive efficiency rating of 116.2 and a defensive rating of 93.9. Both of those figures are league bests by wide margins. Effectively, the Celtics forced the Warriors into a game of near-perfect sucktitude.
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO WELL:
Before the February 22 game, the Warriors had won six of eight games. Have a look at the numbers from each of those wins (via hoopdata):
Effectively, the Warriors won these games with offensive performances that would lead the league by a fair margin. Interestingly, despite the scoring fireworks, their defensive performances improved on their season averages as well.
This suggests the Warriors, appropriately given their mediocre record, play well on both sides of the ball. Or not at all.
It’s instructive: Celtics fans will sometimes criticize the team’s effort and focus from night to night, and rightly so, but they remain on the top of the curve in terms of ability to execute (talent) and drive to execute (focus and effort). The Warriors are still a work in progress on both those fronts.
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO POORLY:
Have another look at the defensive numbers from those wins. Those are Golden State’s strong games. And while their performance is strong in relative terms, overall they’re still a very poor defensive team.
Hayes identified one particular area of deficiency in his preview last week. It’s worth revisiting.
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.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Monta Ellis. Surprisingly, Zach Lowe of former CelticsHub fame (current Sports Illustrated fame) pointed out today that many of the team’s shots come off feeds from Monta Ellis. I tend to think this has more to do with the sheer number of minutes the ball is in Ellis’ hands. That said, the dude can fill it up and players that can score have a tendency to get hot on the Celtics’ watch. Mostly trying to give me a heart-attack.
Reggie Williams. One dimensional offensive players scare me because they tend to make a team look like they are getting demoralized. Whether the players are actually emotionally affected when purely offensive players make shots is another story. For fans, they tend to cause a lot of gray hairs.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
David Lee. Where did this guy go? He left New York for a huge payday in Oakland and has yet to make the same statistical impact. In fact, his numbers are down across the board. This morning at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference I got the tail end of a panel entitled: “Moral Hazard in Long-Term Guaranteed Contracts – Theory and Evidence from the NBA” as presented by Arup Sen. I wish I had thought to ask about David Lee in the example of playing well in a contract year and playing terribly after just locking up a long-term contract. Seriously, look at these stats:These numbers are down across the board (thanks Basketball-Reference) and could have been the main example in Mr. Sen’s presentation.
Andris Biedrins. Some idiot actually suggested trading for this guy prior to the season. What was he thinking? Recently, things have gotten really bad for Biedrins, but at least he’s in good spirits. When it was announced that Ekpe Udoh would be taking over the starting center duties he jokingly made up an exchange between he and coach Keith Smart in which he cussed him out for the benching. Despite the personality, the bottom line is just that he is playing poorly and probably won’t play well tonight.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
Boston needs to keep the momentum going and needs to get something out of their bench. Two of the Celtics most consistent bench players are likely out tonight (Glen Davis we know is out, Delonte West’s status is up in the air but let’s just say it’s doubtful he’ll play). I would love to see Troy Murphy, a full practice with the green team under his belt, really step it up and show Celtics’ fans that he’s still got it (hoping, begging assuming he still has something left to offer). At any rate, Celtics’ fans are going to find out if Murphy still has some production left in his slightly above averaged-aged bones.
Sasha Pavlovic is a Celtic. Weird. Should be fun to see him play though.
Boston 113 Golden State 106
The parts of this preview that sounded extremely over-tired were written by Brendan Jackson. Please direct complaints, insults and ribbings toward him.