Mid-November Celtics Update: Celtics back to .500 (Defense and Depth)


Beat Connection is a Seattle-based band which makes highly danceable indie-pop.

The Celtics are a Boston-based basketball team who perform highly-watchable NBA basketball. The Boston-based team has played eight games of their 82-game regular season. Their record is 4-4. The Celtics have won three of their last four games thanks to their depth and defense.

Over the last 5 games, the productive individual Celtics have been many.

  • Whether it’s the newly-svelte Jared Sullinger (12.4 pts, 10 reb, 2.4 ast, 1.2 stl, 1.2 blk, in only 25 min/game, while shooting 6 of 13 from deep)
  • The ever-evolving Evan Turner (13.0 pts, 4.6 reb, 3.8 ast, 1.6 stl in only 27 min/game with Marcus Smart out of the lineup). Turner slumped in the recent win over Atlanta, but came back to hit a few meaningful shots in the 4th as the Celtics lead was slipping.
  • New addition Amir Johnson, who has been playing through an ankle issue (C’s fans have to hope that his chronic ankles will stay healthy this year), had his best game as a Celtic against Atlanta (19/8/4 with 3 steals and 3 blocks).
  • The shooting of Kelly Olynyk (6 of 14 from deep over last 4 games) and rookie R.J. Hunter (three straight games with at least 1 three-pointer in very limited minutes).
  • Despite lackluster shooting (33% overall, 25% from deep) over the last 5, The indomitable Jae Crowder has 18 steals in the last 4 contests.
  • The Celtics defenders are playing with contagious energy. Even without dogged defender Marcus Smart at the head of the proverbial defensive snake, the Celtics have been attacking on the ball. The trio of Crowder, Amir and Jonas Jerebko are giving opposing wings fits, forcing steals and deflections, often leading to transition hoops.

As a result, Boston is leading the NBA in steals per game (11.2) and 8th (15.0) in fast-break points. At the same time, over the last five games, the Celtics haven’t faced any teams that minimize turnovers well. Still, the identity of this Celtics team has to be based around on-the-ball defense, team communication and pace. Their roster is too offensively-limited to win games against the better half of the NBA (when the pace often slows), but their depth and defensive aggressiveness will be a strength all season. The return of Marcus Smart will only add to that strength.

Upcoming Games

The schedule appears tougher than it actually is over the next week. The Celtics are catching OKC and Houston at the right time, and any time is the right time to catch the horrendous Nets.

Sun, 11/15 @ Oklahoma City (6-3)

No Durant, out with hamstring injury

Mon, 11/16 @ Houston (4-5)

No defense so far. After a big win over Clips, lost to Nets! and Nuggets!

Wed, 11/18 vs Dallas (5-4)

Elderly Dirk, who just won’t stop scoring. Team is playing better than expected so far, waiting for Deron Williams injury to end their optimism.

Fri, 11/20 vs Brooklyn (1-8)

Celtics own Nets 2016 lottery-bound pick, so a win here kind of counts twice

Sun, 11/22 @ Brooklyn

 See above.

***

Four wins out of these five would be great, but 3-2 would be fine, considering 3 of the 5 are on the road.

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