Overall, the season is going very ideally for the Boston Celtics. With only one surprising loss against the Cavaliers and another close one against the Mavericks after trailing by double digits, the Celtics are now and Eastern Conference best 8-2 after defeating the Grizzlies 116-110.
We sure learnt a lot from these games. Here is what I picked up.
The third quarter is still stale
This has been a problem since 2009. This has been the reason why the Celtics were blowing 10, 20 point leads. The reason why Nate Robinson was brought in.
In this win against the Heat, they went into the third quarter with a 15 point cushion. At the end of the third quarter, the Heat filed it down to 10 when the third quarter ended and to five at the end of the game.
This also causes the insane amounts of OT's they have been getting. Working overtime is the last thing these guys want to do as they risk injuries and also affect their performance in the next game.
Ryan DeGama has offered a very interesting proposal on why the Celtics have so much trouble with turnovers and why Rondo racks up such crazy amounts of assists—their reliance on passing because individuals cannot create.
Twice a game they end up running most of the 24 seconds, resulting in a hurried, bad shot or, even worse, a turnover.
Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq are taking turns at being injured. Jermaine O'Neal is out right now as I type. On the bright side, though, they will have to endure the minutes for another couple of months as the return of Perkins will bring the number of centers to four. Injuries would mean the full force of the Celtics will probably not be seen very often in the regular season.
Minutes per game
Thee Celtics have Ray Allen playing the second most minutes behind Rondo, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett following closely at third and fourth respectively. While we should be prudent with early season statistics, this is a worry as the last thing that they want happening is have a callback of the 2008-09 season.
Delonte West may be a solution to so many problems
Firstly, minutes. Von Wafer is definitely not going to be an option anytime soon unless he proves himself big time.
What Delonte West offers is a leader for the second unit. Nate Robinson is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body and Marquis Daniels cannot lead the floor. This forces at least one starter to be in at any point in the game.
In the pre-season, Delonte West showcased great synergy with Nate Robinson. Hopefully, they will bring this into the regular season and give a spark to the late-third-early-fourth-quarter offensive slowdown. This article analyzes in great depth why Delonte West is just so good.
Rondo is slightly better with his outside shot
Looking at the shot charts of Rondo, there are some hits coming from just within the three point line in addition to a about a million of them around the basket. He is definitely more willing and confident in taking them. Come playoff time this will be even better.
People questioned this move by Danny Ainge to sign Shaq after so many years of wear and tear. To that, Shaq responded with a Celtic-career high 18 points against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight in 22 minutes, making a whooping four out of five free throw attempts. Might I add, he is 38 years young?
Another player catching my attention is Semih Erden. He knows his limits and he fits into the system very well, showing a promising career.
Finally, very deserving of a mention is Glen Davis. He is playing big minutes off the bench and responding positively to the responsibility.
The Celtics are looking pretty sharp. Jermain O'Neal's situation is definitely something to worry about as losing him for the season would be big.
The Wizards game is definitely something to look out for as Delonte West makes his much awaited return in his old Celtics uniform.