ESPN's Chris Sheridan has come up with six reasons the Celtics are playing like crap. Let's examine each point and see if he's right.
Kevin Garnett is still hurting.
Midway through overtime with Boston ahead 105-103, the Celtics ran an
out-of-bounds play with one second left on the shot clock on which they
threw an alley-oop lob to Garnett at the rim. The play was executed
perfectly, but Garnett couldn't get up high enough for the stuff —
something that has happened numerous times this season. On defense, the
Knicks repeatedly isolated
one-on-one on the perimeter against Garnett, and Harrington repeatedly
got around him with ease. The game-winning shot at the end of overtime
did get Garnett into double figures in the point column with 10, but he
shot 4-for-15 overall.
True. An obvious explanation, one that we've beaten to death on this site for weeks.
Sheed jacked up six shots Sunday, missing them all, went 0-for-3 from
3-point range and picked up his league-leading fifth technical foul.
Coach Doc Rivers yanked him with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter and
didn't re-insert him until 9.3 seconds remained in overtime. Wallace
has now attempted 128 shots this season, an astounding 81 of which have
come from behind the arc. He's shooting 36 percent overall, but just
.271 from behind the arc, ranking him 183rd league-wide in 3-point
accuracy. Only Trevor Ariza (99), Danny Granger (88), Peja Stojakovic (86), Danilo Gallinari (84) and Channing Frye (83) have attempted more.
True. Another obvious explanation. John dug up some ugly stats on Saturday.
• Rajon Rondo's flaws can be quite stark.
For instance, there was the time at the end of regulation, with the
score tied at 98, when the Celtics came out of a timeout with 4.7
seconds left with a play drawn up to get the ball into Pierce's hands.
But the Knicks blocked Pierce from getting open, and Rondo took the
inbounds pass and stood absolutely still for nearly three full seconds
before dribbling to the 3-point line and firing up a shot that appeared
as though it would have been waved off (for leaving his hand too late)
had it gone in. Rondo also made a change to his free throw-shooting
routine that he declined to explain afterward, making a pronounced
backward jerk with his right shoulder before releasing the ball. It
worked on his first two FTs, but he missed four of his next six
attempts. His FT percentage for the season is .333 (8-for-24).
True. It was mighty painful to watch Rondo with the deer-in-headlights look on that final play of regulation. Again, nothing new to us.
• For a team with so many big guys, they sure don't rebound much.
Boston grabbed 11 offensive boards Sunday, which is actually 1.1 more
than the Celtics had been averaging coming into this game, when they
were ranked 29th, ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston also began the day ranked 24th in second-chance points; another
stat that would be getting a lot more attention if the Celtics weren't
ranked first in the NBA in field goal percentage and assists. Wallace
has grabbed only 11 offensive boards all season, eight fewer than Shelden Williams and nine fewer than Rondo. (And if we take a broader look around, we can include Jon Brockman, Nathan Jawai, Damien Wilkins and Jonas Jerebko among the players with more total offensive rebounds than Wallace.)
True. I've been beating this drum for the past week. But its completely unfair to criticize Sheed for his lack of offensive boards, when the guy is often asked to play on the perimeter in this offense.
• Ray Allen is getting no respect.
Never mind that he bricked 5 of 6 3-point attempts, dropping his
percentage from behind the arc to 30.3 percent. The refs dissed him
even harder late in regulation when, with Boston ahead 98-96 and trying
to run down the clock, Allen had the ball in the corner as a
double-team came at him. With Wilson Chandler
clearly grabbing his jersey to keep Allen from driving around him,
Allen was called for an offensive foul. The Knicks then tied the game
on the ensuing possession to help send the game to overtime.
False. Yes, Ray's shooting percentage is down. But that missed call at the end of regulation more to do with the refs making up for bad calls, than a lack of respect for Ray.
• The players aren't listening to Doc Rivers.
OK, this one is a bit of a stretch, but it was true during the Celtics'
final timeout of overtime when Rivers drew up a play. "I drew up the
play, and Paul [Pierce] came to me and said 'Let's not run that play.'
He said 'We were going to run that other play before, let's run [a
different play] because if I can get the floor flat, I'm going to get
to the basket or Kevin is going to get a shot,'" Rivers said.
"Sometimes a coach is a good listener, and that time I was. Honestly,
Paul called that. I had a completely different play."
True (kinda). But Sheridan's example is a poor one. Doc has said repeatedly that players are improvising too much on the offensive end.
Sheridan was right on 5/6 points. This means he's qualified to read Red's Army daily and battle with ToTheRuins, G4L and Danno in the comments.