What Are the Celtics Doing So Well?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By Jon Newberry


Last season the Celtics finished 50-32 (and were swept by the Hawks), while this season they have started 19-4 which puts them on pace to win 67 or 68 games.

This begs the question, what are they doing so well this year?

True, last year they were bitten by the injury bug, missing key components much of the season, but they have already seen Rajon Rondo miss four games, Shaq battle injuries, and the other O’Neal (Jermaine) miss much of the early action.

We went to the stat sheet to see if that would provide any answers.

This year they are averaging 1.5 more points per game and allowing 4.5 points less. That makes sense, when you win you score more than your opponents. Really, across the board there are marginal differences in Boston’s averages from the current season before the last season…except for one.

Last season the Celtics were outrebounded (40.1 to 38.6) and this season they are pulling down more than their opponents (39.7 to 38.0). In addition to all of the skills (Rondo’s playmaking, Allen’s shooting, Pierce’s creating) and defense (KG) the Celtics have added rebounding to their attack.

The Hawks’ first match-up with the C’s was a great example. Boston outrebounded Atlanta 50-30 while Shaq had six points and five rebounds in the game’s first five minutes. Oversized centers and active rebounders have given the Hawks trouble in the past (See 2010 playoffs) and the game against this year’s Boston team was a perfect example.

The Hawks seemed to find an answer the last time they played in Orlando. They have become comfortable going with a big line-up that slides Al to power forward and Smoove to small forward. It may be a line-up that LD will need to go to early and often on Thursday night when the two teams tip off on TNT.