Boston Celtics: Stats and Info
The Celtics outscored the Heat 58-46 in the paint in Game 3 and were far more effective inside than in the first two games of the series. Boston’s 58 points in the paint are its most in a playoff game since May 4, 2008 against the Hawks when the Celtics scored 60 paint points in their 99-65 Game 7 win.
In Games 1 and 2, Boston averaged 32 paint points while shooting 47.1 percent close to the basket. Only 13.5 percent of their attempts were layups and dunks, and shots in the paint accounted for only 42 percent of their total offense. In Game 3, Boston put up 58 paint points while shooting 65.9 percent close to the hoop. A total of 23 percent of their attempts were layups and dunk, and shots in the paint accounted for 57.9 percent of their total chances.
The Celtics’ 58 points in the paint are their most in any game this season (reg. season and playoffs) and their most in the playoffs since 2008. Boston is 7-3 since the start of the 2009 postseason when it scores at least 50 points in the paint.
And here's a look at the Celtics game with the most paint points since the 2009 season:
58 -- Heat -- June 1, 2012
54 -- Lakers -- June 10, 2010
54 -- Bulls -- April 28, 2009
54 -- Bulls -- April 18, 2009
Statistical support for this story from NBA.com
The Celtics were held to 11 points in the third quarter, tied for their lowest output in a quarter since the Indiana Pacers held them to 10 points in the fourth quarter in Game 2 of their 2005 Eastern Conference first-round matchup.
In fact, they were held to one point per minute over the second and third quarters while making just 9 of 37 shots from the field. They made 24 of 42 shots -- 57 percent -- over the other two quarters to stay in the game.
If the Celtics had gotten to the free-throw line, they might have been able to win the game despite their poor shooting stretch. Boston attempted only nine free throws in the game. In 1,879 playoff games over the last 25 years, the Celtics are one of only eight home teams to attempt fewer than 10 free throws.
• This is the first time in the Pierce/Allen/Garnett era that the Celtics lost a playoff series in fewer than 7 games.
• Making major roster changes to the Celtics won’t be as easy as it sounds. Most of the regulars are under contract for at least another season with the Celtics. Glen Davis is the only one whose contract ends this season. Barring a significant trade or free agent signing, it appears that they’ll make a run next year with the same group.
If you may recall, the Celtics also struggled down the stretch last season, finishing 27-27, including an 18-14 mark after the All-Star break.
Since trading away Kendrick Perkins and acquiring less defensively inclined players such as Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and Troy Murphy, one might think that the biggest difference between this year and last year's team was that the 2009-10 crew that made the NBA Finals was at least defending at a much higher level.
It appears that's not the case (see chart).
So if we're looking for differences between this year and last year in terms of why the Celtics have struggled down the stretch, we need to look at the other side of the ball.
Simply comparing the team before and after the All-Star break gives us a general idea that something is up. Before the break, the Celtics had an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) over 105, which ranked near the middle of the pack in the NBA. For a team that plays at a slower pace and relies heavily on its defense, that efficiency enabled Boston to score 97.9 points per game ... nowhere near the top of the league but certainly good enough given its own strengths.
After the break, that offensive rating has dropped to 101.6, which has translated into an offense generating just 93.1 PPG, 27th-best in the NBA (only the Bucks, Hawks and Bobcats have been worse).
So why has the Celtics’ offense suddenly fallen off?
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