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The back-to-back loss pep talk: we are fine but need to fix 5 things

November 18, 2009

12% of the season finished, 88% left. Plenty. Of. Time.

12% of the season finished, 88% left. Plenty. Of. Time.

I want to stress very early on in this post that I am not freaking out. You are not freaking out. Well, you might be freaking out, but there is no need for you to be freaking out. It’s far too early to be freaking out. We are just a tad over 1/8 of the way through the season. A measly 12% through. Calm down, folks.

Yes we have dropped 2 games, but it really isn’t a big deal. Our loss column is filled with the number 3, but there is also the number 8 in the wins column. Only 1 team in the entire NBA has played more games than us (Portland), while some teams like Milwaukee and Indiana have played 8 and 7 games, respectively. We still have the 3rd best win % in the East.

Let’s also face this fact: out of the 3 teams that are responsible for handing the Celtics a loss, Atlanta is the only one that could push us in a 7 game series. Neither Phoenix nor Indiana could take us in 7 games: both teams were on fire and couldn’t miss– you can’t repeat those shooting nights over and over again. There is a difference between taking a team down during any given game and taking a team down 4 times out of a possible 7 chances. 7 game series are designed to allow the better team to prevail. The Celtics are better than the Suns and the Pacers. Case closed.

Why you should feel good:

  • Boston is the only team with a double-digit positive point differential in the entire league at +10.2.
  • The Celtics are 2nd in points allowed by opposing teams with 88.3 per game.
  • On BasketballReference.com, the Celtics are ranked 1st in Pythagorean W-L (Pythagorean Wins; the formula is G * (Tm PTS14 / (Tm PTS14 + Opp PTS14))); ranked 2nd in SRS with a score of 7.95 (read the explanation here: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=37); and ranked 1st in BR’s team defense rating with a score of 97.8 (Defensive Rating (available since the 1977-78 season in the NBA; for players and teams it is points allowed per 100 possessions.)

We are a good team. We are designed to win a series, not every game. We are designed to win a series, not every game.
We have smart players and great coaches that have high basketball IQs: whatever is going wrong in a series, as long as we are healthy, we will rectify and fix.

But… of course, we did just drop 2 games to younger, more athletic teams.
Let’s see these 5 things as we move forward against the next 5 games: Golden State (Wed), Orlando (Fri), New York (Sun), Philly (Wed), and Tor (Fri) in the following week and a half.

Perk is a beast. The beast needs to close out the 4th.

Perk is a beast. The beast needs to close out the 4th.

  • Keep rebounding. It’s pretty simple: the more boards a team gets, the less the opposing team gets. More rebounds = more possessions and more chances to score while at the same time taking away chances for the opposing team to score. We need to box out. We need to send 2 guys into crash the boards while sending the other 3 into transition.
  • More Quisy. More Shelden. I want to see these 2 get a few more minutes: with Pierce banged up, I’m hoping we see more Quisy. His title, thus far in the young season, should be Mr. Efficiency. Everything he does is efficient, modest, controlled, and important. Quisy matters to this team as much as Posey mattered to the 2008 team. Quisy is the swingman we need to go deep in the spring. As for Shelden, he’s been Mr. Pleasant Surprise (self-explanatory).
  • Perk closing the game. Perk is a Beast. Right? Right. Sheed is in a bit of a funk and I’d like to see him get a few more minutes in the middle of the game instead of the end; I want to see Perk close out the 4th. I’m choosing defense over offensive possibility. I’ll always choose defense over offensive possibility. If you have Perk in, he is guaranteed to play solid interior defense on every defensive possession. Not to say Sheed is a slouch on defense, because he has been great, but Perk can still jump. Perk can still box out stronger guys and do the dirty work underneath that he is genetically and athletically designed to do. Let him close out the quarter because it makes sense.
  • Rondo needs to take 12 shots a game. While it was great to see him pushing to create for his teammates against Atlanta this past Friday, but we need to see him aggressively taking it to the hoop. We need floaters. We need lay ups. But more importantly, we need the opposing team’s defense to collapse on Rondo when he enters the paint. If he is going to get players better, clearer looks, the defense needs to bite on the possibility of him shooting/scoring so the other guys are free/open. Rondo will usually be pass-first, so it’s not like we are changing his game. We just need to see him take some more shots.
  • Mix up the line-ups. I will have to stop saying this eventually, but for now, I’m still begging for it. I want some dynamic diversity in our line-ups: a speedy lineup, a big lineup, a mix of starters and reserves. Doc has a deep bench that can cause opposing teams major headaches if he is able to mix-in different lineups together. The Celtics are in the position to set the tone with lineups and make other teams match-up against us, as opposed to us having to match up against other teams like we had to do for much of last year.

So if there are 4 blue jerseys around Rondo... Hmm...

So if there are 4 blue jerseys around Rondo... Hmm...

My hands are steady. There are 71 more games to play.
Settle in for the ride.

Article of the day: NBA Mate’s “David Andersen can shoot”

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 2:59 am

    I agree with you big-time. Especially about more minutes for Marquis and Shelden and Perk late in the game. I’d like to see Ray, Pierce and KG get more rest in certain games and let Quisy & Shelden get there’s.

    • November 18, 2009 1:52 pm

      More minutes! More minutes! Simple as that. It’s so early, why not experiment with mixing up the lineups?!??!?!

  2. November 18, 2009 8:34 am

    Ahhh… how refreshing to see an NBA die-hard NOT panicking about their team in November! :P

    It seems the same can’t be said for the fans of Cleveland.

    Maybe you could do a Cavalier blog too just to put some of the Cavs’ souls to rest for now… Or tell the people of Oakland to celebrate now that Mrs Jackson has left the building.

    Love your work Loscy.

    • November 18, 2009 1:53 pm

      Yes. I’ve thought about starting a blog called, “TheCavsAreDestinedToLoseForever.com”. What do you think?!?!? Poor management. A coach that can’t coach offense. Players that are forced into a role that they aren’t ready for. Really, just a disaster.

      Love the work you guys do, too at twosidesofthehoop.com!

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  1. Today’s Celtics Links 11/18 « Flceltsfan’s Weblog

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