Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Despite an opening sweep, Boston is still vulnerable
With the only sweep of the first round, Boston made a statement against New York, but this season's Celtics still seem poorly equipped to make a deep playoff run. Beyond lacking a strong center and playing slowly, as we discussed previously, the Celtics had the lowest offensive rebounding rate in the league this year. Historically, that would mark them as possible playoff underperformers.
Admittedly, the C's managed to buck these same trends in 2010, but unlike Kevin Garnett did last year, neither Shaquille O'Neal nor Jermaine O'Neal seems likely to step up. Instead, the Celtics made it through the first round with 47 percent 3-point shooting, far above their regular-season average (and possibly a product of the Knicks' poor defense). Ray Allen showed in last year's NBA Finals that one good stretch of shooting doesn't necessarily carry over to the next game or series. In fact, previous trends suggest Boston could play more than two points worse than expected, meaning that it might take another stroke of luck from deep to get past the Miami Heat in Round 2 (assuming LeBron James & Co. advance past the Philadelphia 76ers).
This pile of mis-information is brought to you by the world renowned Austin Link. Another guy who apparently analyzes basketball by reading box scores, not by watching games.
The offensive rebounding… why does this stat ONLY apply to the Celtics. Miami ranked 26th in offensive rebounding this year. Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, San Antonio, New Orleans and New York – all playoff teams – also ranked in the bottom third. And is it coincidence that the best shooting teams fall at the bottom of the offensive rebounding list?
As for Jermaine O'Neal not stepping up, did Mr. Link WATCH the Knicks series?
I thought playoff analysis in the NBA centered around match-ups. Isn't that the key to any series? As thin as Boston is at center, they are still more physical than Miami. And my final question to Mr. Link – what do your numbers say about Rajon Rondo?
(h/t to Brian P. for forwarding link)
On Page 2, Nads is confused about his role.
Krstic has slipped so far off coach Doc Rivers’ radar, he has strictly become a first-half player. His immediate playoff future is a crapshoot, especially if Shaquille O’Neal returns.
He’s a little confused.
“Not really,” Krstic said of understanding his role. “I play three minutes and sit down. You start to get going. I don’t need to score, just do something to try and help the team. But it’s hard.”
“When I get four or five minutes or whatever, I just go out and play hard,” he said. “Get rebounds, set a good screen. But I don’t have a role offensively, like going in the post or pick-and-pop. I’m more defensively oriented.
“It’s changed,” said Krstic. “I’m on a championship team for the first time in my career. The first unit knows how to get to the Finals and how to play, and we’re still learning. I’m doing whatever coach says.”
We knew Doc Rivers was going to shorten his rotation in the playoffs and it appears Nads is a casualty.
Like the rest of the bench, he did play better in Game 4. But I long for his first days in green, when he was tearing up the offensive boards and raining jumpers.
The rest of the links:
Globe – So far, so good for Celtics | No one ever talks about defense | WEEI – Playoff picture in a snapshot | South Coast – Celtics ready for prime time | Enterprise – Rondo figures to be key vs Miami |