During the Sacramento game, their broadcasters said that our defense is superior, but our offense is not at that same level. I agreed with this statement, and so I went and did some research to clarify this assumption. Lo and behold, it wasn't what I thought it was--our offense is better than I'm giving it credit for.
Our defense is indeed superior, bar none, no questions about it. We hold teams down to a league best 86.6 ppg. So I thought, if our team was as good on offense as it is on defense, we should be scoring more than we are--for example, against the Kings, we only scored 89 pts. Yes we did outscore the Kings by 20, but we shot very poorly on this night (41%--and the Kings aren't a good defensive team). On a team with 3 future Hall of Famers, who teams have a hard time containing one on one, shouldn't we be scoring just as much as the Suns (109 ppg), or the Warriors (108), or at least the Lakers (106)? We are 10th in the league in scoring, behind the 8 - 20 Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 100 ppg.
So what gives? Are we a consistent force on defense, but streaky on offense? Are the future Hall of Famers on the team not making it easier for themselves and others to score? Sure we are beating teams by an average of 14 ppg, but that's because our defense is so tight, right? Well, yes, to a point--but judging by the numbers, we are a pretty tight offensive team as well. Lets look at some numbers, shall we?
As I have just stated, we are 10th in the league in scoring, and though that may not seem to be a great amount, its the way in which we gather all our points that makes us a special offensive team. Hold on--its easy to score 100 pts in a game. Getting to the free throw line 30 times a game will help run up the score. I bet we are right at the top in FT attempts per game. Any team with Paul Pierce on it would likely be at the top of the league, but we are far from leading the league in this category. When it comes to trips to the line, we are 8th in the league.
Well, maybe we score 100 ppg because we jack up a lot of three's. With Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Eddie House, and James Posey, we must be up there in three pointers attempted per game, right? You would think, but this isn't the case. We rank 10th in the league in 3 pointers taken per contest. We fall near the middle of the bell curve compared to the rest of the league.
Well, if we aren't a big time free throw shooting team, and we aren't a big time 3 point shooting team, we must be jacking up a whole lot of regular shots, right? I mean how else would we make up for all these points?. I would think so, but get this; to my amazement, we are dead last in shot attempts per game!!! To be 10th in the league in scoring, you'd think we'd be hoisting up a lot of shots, from all over the court, right? I mean, the Warriors and the Suns (who are 2nd and 1st in the league in scoring) are in the top 3 in attempts per game.
How can we be averaging the fewest amount of shots taken per game and still be 10th in the league in scoring? It doesn't add up.
Again, this is why we are a special offensive team, and why we are actually dominant, even though we aren't leading the league in PPG. Consider that we are 3rd in the league in FG%. Though we are 10th in the league in scoring, we are the 3rd best shooting team, behind only the offensive juggernaught known as the Suns, and the well oiled scoring machine coached by Jerry Sloan (the Jazz). Sure 9 other teams score more than we do, but we shoot better than most of those teams.
And though we aren't shooting the most three pointers in the league, we are the 3rd best in 3 pt FG% as well. The combination of shooting the ball well from inside the arc AND behind the arc allows us to score a lot of points, without having to be a volume shooting team like we were during the Coach O'Brien era. Throw in the points we earn from the free throw line and you see how we can score as much as we do without shooting the ball so much.
We are also 3rd in the league in turnovers forced, which contributes to a handful of fastbreak points (I don't have the numbers for this stat)
So you can see that we amass our points from many different angles. Teams may be able to stop us at certain areas of the court, but we can attack in many different ways to keep the onslaught coming.
We may not lead the league in any particular offensive category but factor in all the various numbers from around the basketball court and you will see how dominant we have been on this side of the ball, too.
Granted, this doesn't mean we are perfect on offense--there are many times we find ourselves in shallow water because we fall into slumps and allow teams to get back into games. But time and time again, we are proving that we can turn a 5 point lead into a 15 pt lead in a blink of an eye, devastating the hopes of poor teams who think they've cornered us.
I am still in favor of designing better plays to free up Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Eddie House for easier looks at the basket--they seem to have to work hard to get open. And its a small concern that we don't have much of a low post game (Garnett fades away most of the time). But hard to nitpick a team who is playing so well--I'm sure in time, we'll find ways to improve in these areas.
So lets continue to appreciate how dominant this team has been, both offensively and defensively. I may scrutinize our team too much at times, but under the lights, its not what it seems. This team is setting unprecendant stats that are mind boggling, and it stems from a dominating defense and an offense that holds up its end of the load. If this team keeps up this pace, we may be talking about the best Celtics team in its illustrious history. We are talking about potential greatness here. But for this team to even be considered for that prestigeous honor, we need to bring home the championship trophy. So bring out your four leaf clovers and magic lucky chamrs, and keep rooting for our boys in green. We are doing some very special things that puts s in unique company, and I have a feeling we are looking at bringing home Banner 17 this year. So far, so good. 23-3!!!