Rajon Rondo resumes his spectacular point guard play recording his 35th consecutive game with 10 or more assists–two shy of John Stockton and 11 shy of Magic Johnson for the NBA all-time assist record. Aside from Rondo’s quest, the Celtics struggle to gain momentum early in the 2012-13 season losing back-to-back contests to the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.
Doc Rivers and his team have not maintained the right tracks this season with a 6-6 record, similar in recent years. In analyzing each game, the complications are due to three aspects: too much passing, getting out-rebounded, and defense has been irrelevant.
Too Much Passing:
There comes a time to make the extra pass or shoot it. The Boston Celtics have presented complications within in these two different concepts, which most certainly involves hesitations.
Most of the time, it comes down to what you have done lately. In terms of the Boston Celtics, the high expectations of how good this team can be has been nonexistent.
Too much distribution can ultimately cause turnovers or poor shot selection as the shot clock trickles down to zero. The Celtics have been averaging 14 turnovers per game and shooting 48% over the course of this season.
Despite Rondo’s tremendous assists totals, his 3.6 turnovers per game is a bit high for the six-year general. The major factor in his turnovers is the unknown anticipation of the players around him whether it is Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, or Jared Sullinger.
Whether or not, these players can become focused and apply good basketball tactics will be in the hands of Rajon Rondo. Not only will all eyes be on the elite point guard for the assist record but they will be also visioning how he manages to secure the basketball.
Weak Rebounding Numbers:
The Boston Celtics have always had low depth in the post and they continue the trend with many concerns in the rebounding category (30th in the NBA).
Particularly, offensive rebounding. If a team wants to be successful in the NBA, they must fight for more possessions. This season Doc Rivers’ team has averaged 6.3 offensive rebounds per game, which is considerably low around the league.
Two players on the Celtics to mention are Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass. The former Ohio State Buckeye has been in great positioning to fight for the ball. With only a 6-foot-8-inches body frame, Boston’s post players must take notes on how the first-year power forward boxes out his opponent to gain the loose basketball. With all of that being said, he must start living down there because he is only averaging 1.3 offensive rebounds per game.
In terms of Bass, his anticipation for the basketball has been precise, but instead of shooting the 10-12 foot jumper he must also stay in the post. The former LSU Tiger has recorded 1.6 offensive rebounds per game in this season.
Currently, there are way to many shooters getting comfortable around the perimeter and inside the perimeter. Subsequently, there are not enough bodies down low in the paint.
Defense Needs to Tighten Up the Screws:
In his time with the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers has always preached defense, defense, defense. This year it’s a little different. The Celtics have been off to a poor start allowing the opponents to score to easily. There are three main situations that have been weaknesses: transition defense, too much gambling, and presence in the paint.
In comparison from this year to recent years, Celtics’ transition defense has been far the worst and I think it’s due the dogging back action on defense. That action could entail the fatigue factor through this team.
There is way too much going for the ball and taking a gamble on this team. Particularly, Rondo and Lee are worth mentioning. It’s good to anticipate where the offensive player is going, but if you are wrong it could be costly. Defensive positioning must be taken accountable on the on-ball defending.
Aside from Kevin Garnett, many of the post players are getting beat and bullied down low. The problem in having smaller built post players presents an advantage to the bigger and taller oppositions. With that, these smaller players like Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass must use their quickness in committing charges and the action of beating the opponent to the spot.
It’s evident that these players have not played together for a long time, but when do these droughts end?
Boston will go toe-to-toe with another Western Conference contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder. The tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.