Who: Boston Celtics vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Celtics Home Game
When: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Live at TD Garden, Boston, MA
|Boston||4-4||98.6 (20)||100.4 (12)||96.8 (17)|
|Charlotte||3-4||95.0 (28)||102.2 (18)||95.1 (25)|
Boston: Jared Sullinger (OUT)
|PG||Avery Bradley||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Jordan Crawford||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Jeff Green||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Brandon Bass||Josh McRoberts|
|C||Kelly Olynyk||Al Jefferson|
|6th Man||Gerald Wallace||Ramon Sessions|
1- STATS. With Jordan Crawford getting 24.3 MPG, Boston is an above average defensive team. Oh, and not to mention they’re starting a rookie center — 12th in defensive efficiency. Just please tell us how?
Spencer: Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass and Gerald Wallace are all above-average defenders. Jeff Green certainly has the ability to be shutdown on the defensive end as well due to his length. Olynyk is just constant energy on the defensive end, so he doesn’t really hurt the core. The Celtics are currently 9th in the league in causing turnovers — their opponents are coughing up the rock 17 times/48 min (per NBAstats.com).
Dakota: The ghost of Rajon Rondo is hanging over them? Without spending too much time watching this current iteration of the Celtics, I really can’t give a solid opinion on how their defense is working. With that said, Avery Bradley is currently the quarterback of the Celtics defense which is probably the most likely reason behind their success as he’s a fantastic perimeter defender.
Greg: On defense, one thing sticks out so far: their ability to take away the three-point shot. Boston ranks second in three-pointers allowed, with teams averaging 4.4 makes on 14.75 attempts per game. Combine that with above-average defense at the rim, and Boston’s done a good job of taking away the most efficient shots available.
2- KEMBA. We all this kid makes the wheel turn for Charlotte. Kemba is sporting a true shooting % of just 47.5 currently. That’s good for 44th in the NBA among qualified PG’s. What’s contributing to his struggles the most?
Spencer: One aspect of Kemba’s offensive game that still really bothers me is the fact that he leaves his feet far too often with no apparent plan. The Bobcats offense has become more stagnant lately and this has led to bad shots towards the end of the shot clock — driving his shooting numbers south. He’s shooting 25.8% from deep, which is horrible and far below his already below average shooting numbers from there.
In Charlotte wins this season Kemba is assisting 32.3% of baskets made when he’s on the floor, but in losses the % drops to 18.6 (Per NBAstats.com). This provides some good evidence that he still needs to focus more on being a distributor. By doing this, he will get much better looks at the basket as well. Kemba’s ability to get into the painted area is as good as anyone’s, but the ability to find open teammates from there has been a struggle — if/when he turns the corner at creating for teammates off the bounce will determine much of what his ceiling is as an offensive player. NOTE: Part of that requires Bobcats putting more shooters around Kemba.
Dakota: The main factor behind Kemba’s offensive struggles could probably point to the fact that he’s just really struggling from both the perimeter and inside of the restricted area. He’s looking more aggressive so far this season but Kemba’s just not able to make his shots so far this year which will hopefully improve as the season goes along.
Greg: I’m not too worried about Kemba. He got off to a slow start last year, too, shooting 39.5 percent from the floor and 26.1 percent from three through the first month of the season. A new coach brings a new offensive system and philosophies, so it’s not really that surprising he’s taking a little time to adjust. We’re seeing that with all the guards, actually: Kemba has a higher TS% than Gerald Henderson and Jeff Taylor. Ramon Sessions is the lone standout among the guards in terms of efficiency, but running to the rim at full speed and drawing fouls works pretty well regardless of the system.
3- PICK IT. After dropping their first 4 games out of the gate, Boston has reeled off 4 straight wins. Charlotte is headed in the opposite direction. Who ya got?
Spencer: Bobcats. In Boston’s 4-game winning streak they’ve taken an average of 89.5 FGA/game. That’s 18 more FGA/game than in their 4 losses. This tells us that they’re creating second chances on the glass + forcing turnovers. If Charlotte values possessions and takes care of the ball tonight, which they’re good at, I see the Bobcats being able to squeak out a W.
Dakota: This is going to be a close, evenly matched gamed but I’m leaning towards the Celtics in this one. I continue to see Kemba Walker struggling because of Avery Bradley’s scorching defense. With that said, Al Jefferson could go off to have a stand-out game from the low post because of his size advantage over Kelly Olynyk and/or Brandon Bass.
Greg: This is a much different team with Al Jefferson, but that’s not necessarily going to change things overnight. The team still needs to get used to playing with Big Al, and Jefferson needs some time to get into game shape. Meanwhile, the Celtics are hot, rested and playing at home. I’ll go with Boston tonight.