The Boston Celtics Have to Avoid Playing Too Many Overtime Periods
Last night, the Boston Celtics failed to win in regulation for the 10th time this year. They earned a much-needed victory on the last night of a five-game trip by coming alive in the added five minutes of basketball. The Celtics have now played nearly 20 percent of their regular season in overtime, which is equal to nearly 75 minutes of extra basketball–not exactly the proper recipe for a team with veteran legs.
The Celtics’ scoring issues are a problem on most nights, if not all of them. Their offensive efficiency ranks towards the back of the pack and it looks as if they are getting easier to defend. Easy buckets are rare and jump shots are the bread and butter of this team. Sure, they have a lot of great shooters, including some hall of fame type of shot makers, but until the Celtics step on the throttle offensively early and often in games, they aren’t going to be beating the teams that they should be. Defense wins championships, but if you struggle on the offensive end, there’s not going to be much fear in the eyes of your opponents.
As of right now there are 18 teams that put up more points than the Celtics, but only eight that allow less than the Celtics. The Celtics are seventh in the league in assists, which is nice, but what lies under the surface of that specific statistic is the fact that they all need each other to score. Even with guys like Paul Pierce and Jeff Green in isolation situations, the Celtics find more success in moving the ball than playing one-on-one.
On the Celtics’ last possession in regulation last night, they chose to keep Pierce in a one-on-one situation rather than running some sort of play to get someone cutting to the basket. The result was a wasted 17 seconds and a last second turn-around flail from Pierce. The shot actually rimmed out and was a decent shot for how difficult of a shot it was, but why not run a play? Why not try to get to the line or at least give yourself a chance at a put back? Doc Rivers continues to test his loyalty to Pierce by giving him the ball in crucial late game situations, and although he came alive in the overtime period by putting up a game-clinching seven points, there has to be more urgency and better decision making to win games in 48 minutes.
The Celtics were able to win a tough game against the Utah Jazz to hand them just their seventh loss at home this season. If the Celtics want to contend, they will have to find a way to make their offense at least comparable to their defense, because as of right now they have to be one of the easier offenses league-wide for any opponent to defend.
Eric St. Cyr is a NBA Contributor for Rantsports.com Follow Him on Twitter @ericJsaint