The Celtics dazzled us all with their 6-0 start. They stumbled through a 3-4 stretch. Now they're dominating teams once again, winning 7 straight. Why the streaky play? I asked the Red's Army research staff to delve into the numbers and find an answer.
6-0 3-4 7-0
PF 99.8 95.8 104
PA 81.5 94.2 94.7
FG% 50% 47.5% 51.5%
Opp. FG % 40% 46.4% 45%
3FG% 45% 23% 36%
Opp. 3FG% 24% 40% 31%
FTs 75% 73% 77%
FTA/FTM 88-116 117-160 143-184
Rebounds 39 37.5 37.4
Steals 8.5 9.1 8.2
Turnovers 15 14.1 13.1
During the initial 6-0 stretch, the team was dominating with defense, allowing 81.5 ppg on 40% shooting. On the offensive side, they were shooting nearly as good from 3 as the rest of the floor.
As the Celtics slipped, so did their defense, giving up an average of 13 more points per game. Teams were shooting better from the field and beyond the arc.
Over the past 7 games, the team increased its overall shooting percentage just 4%, but the 3-point percentage improved drastically. The defensive numbers aren't much different, except on the perimeter.
The change in free throws may be most indicative of the team's style of play. The team is getting to the line more, and making more free throws than any point this season. Might they be more aggressive?
What surprised me was the consistency of the rebounding, steals and turnovers. There isn't much of a change in the numbers over the course of the season.
So what does all this mean? I'm not sure. When we set out on this project I expected to see a larger discrepancy in the numbers. The numbers do reveal the slim margin of error that exists in the NBA.