Boston on the Boards

by Jeff Fogle 10. February 2011 02:12

Has anyone noticed that the Boston Celtics don't rebound like they used to?

Celtics' Rebound Rates

2007-08: 51.9 (4th in the league)
2008-09: 52.8 (2nd in the league)
2009-10: 49.1 (25th in the league)
2010-11: 49.7 (18th in the league thus far)

Boston won the league championship in 2007-08, billed as a "defense and rebounding" power. They were very strong again in '08-09 even though Orlando would go on to win the East that year.

Last season? A drop all the way down to 25th in the NBA with more rebounds given up than grabbed. I was thinking that may have been a reflection of coasting through long stretches to save themselves for the playoffs. But the rate only improved to 49.6 in the playoffs, which was 8th best out of 16 teams. Boston made it all the way to the finals despite not being very impressive on the boards.

This year's team is better, but far from elite.

Something to think about as Boston hosts the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night on TNT, and the Miami Heat Sunday afternoon on ABC. Let's see if we can pick up any reasons for this fall from excellence to normalcy. Or, maybe we'll see an intensified effort in challenge games.

Note that the Lakers are a very good rebounding team, though it's not something the media tends to spotlight about them...

Lakers' Rebound Rates
2007-08: 50.8 (8th in the league)
2008-09: 51.5 (5th in the league)
2009-10: 51.2 (8th in the league)
2010-11: 51.9 (3rd in the league thus far)

Some great games to watch on TV this week.

Transiton Points

*Indiana had its sixth straight strong offensive rebounding performance under new coach Frank Vogel...

31.7 offensive rate vs. Charlotte
29.7 offensive rate at Miami
37.5 offensive rate vs. New Jersey
31.1 offensive rate vs. Portland
38.1 offensive rate at Cleveland
36.6 offensive rate vs. Toronto

The three performances before Jim O'Brien got fired were 18.6, 21.9, and 17.4.

The Pacers are now 5-1 under Vogel. But, they faded badly down the stretch in a 104-103 win over Charlote. It was night two of a b2b for Indiana. Rested Charlotte won the fourth quarter 33-23 and almost stole a win. The Pacers pushed tempo again, moving slow Charlotte into the mid 90's in total possessions.

*The New York Knicks looked AWFUL in a 116-108 home loss to the LA Clippers. The visiting Clippers were shorthanded, and playing on night two of a back-to-back. New York has had a chance to freshen up after a tiring schedule stretch a while back. This was part of a Sunday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday-Wednesday sequence for the Knicks that's about as friendly as it gets.

Yet, the Clippers were the more energetic team most of the night, moving to a 20-point lead late in the third quarter before fizzling and giving much of it away. A few key baskets gave them some late breathing room.

Sure, Amare Stoudemire was battling foul trouble. That's going to happen against physical teams...which is why it's hard to be optimistic about New York's hopes in the playoffs. The defense just wasn't there in any shape or form.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at what had been a slumping offense for the Knicks. Poor defense has been an issue during the most recent part of their slide that's now 4-10 the last 14 games.

Defensive Efficiency Prior 5 Games (points allowed per 100 possessions)
113.2 vs. Philadephia
103.1 at Philadelphia
114.1 vs. Dallas
117.8 vs. Detroit
119.4 at Atlanta

Tonight's game will grade out horribly with those 116 points allowed.

*Cyberspace seemed to be abuzz today with talk of Derrick Rose's newfound ability to earn trips to the free throw line. Many theories are out there already. How about a "New Year's Resolution" theory?

Rose Free Throw Attempts Per Game:
From Dec. 11-28th: 0-3-0-9-6-10-3-6-1
From Dec. 31-now: 7-10-3-7-10-19-9-7-5-8-9-4-6-9-10-8-3-8-2-8-5

4.2 per game from Dec. 11-28th
7.5 per game from New Year's Eve on

Wanted to note also that Rose has made a big leap forward in scoring this year thanks to three-point productivity.

Rose's Treys:
0.2 per game last year
1.6 per game this year

That's 1.4 more per game, which is 4.2 more points from long range per game, largely explaining his leap from 20.8 to 24.6 points per game so far this season.

Points on 1's and 2's:
20.1 per game last year
19.9 per game this year

*Denver's doldrums continued with a 116-114 loss at Golden State. Chauncey Billups missed the game with a sore knee, but is expected to play Thursday vs. Dallas in game two of the TNT doubleheader.

The Nuggets did rally from 13-points down in the second half. They couldn't avoid dropping their fifth game in the last seven.

Tonight's game with Dallas will be their second back-to-back in the past week, and fourth since January 25-26. Dallas will also be in a b2b after surviving Sacramento 102-100.

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2/10/2011 3:07:27 AM #


The Mavs have an oppurtunity to put a few games on the Lakers before the all-star break.

The Mavs have at Denver, at Houston, home Sacramento and at Phoenix the next night.  The Lakers have four games in five nights and five in seven, all on the road.

Greyberger United States

2/10/2011 6:22:04 PM #


Rebounding is about 1/3 as important to winning as shot defense.

EvanZ United States

2/11/2011 1:10:34 AM #

Jeff Fogle

GB, agree that the next couple of weeks are important for Dallas. I'm hoping they help break me out of my mindset that only a few teams have real chances to go the distance.

Thanks for your note Evan. Do you think rebounding could have a bigger percentage impact than that in a head-to-head meeting or playoff series when two good shot defense teams are playing each other?

Jeff Fogle United States

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