Thursday, February 12, 2009

When the ball moves, the offense is fun

Boston's defense gets so much attention that the Celtics' offense is often overshadowed.

But while "the Celtics held opponents to the lowest field-goal percentage (42.3 percent) in the league, they also ranked second to Phoenix in field-goal percentage offense (48.3 percent)."

As this article points out, "the Celtics had four starters shooting 50 percent or better entering the weekend, Kendrick Perkins (59.3 percent), Kevin Garnett (52.5), Rajon Rondo (51.0), and Ray Allen (50.2). Rondo, Allen and Orlando’s Jameer Nelson (50.5) were the only guards with more than 200 field goals shooting 50 percent or better. Paul Pierce (44.2 percent) was the only Celtic starter under 50 percent, but he’s the team’s leading scorer."

That's a credit to BOS assistant Armond Hill (center with Doc Rivers and Kevin Eastman), the "Ivy League Player of the Year in 1976 at Princeton University under famed coach Pete Carril."

Coach Hill played pro ball for eight seasons, was an assistant to Coach Carril at Princeton in the early '90s, then served as Columbia's head coach from 1995-2003.

According to BOS coach Doc Rivers, one reason for Ray Allen's improved shooting percentage this season -- especially in the paint -- is because "he's no longer dancing."

“Last year, I thought he was so used to getting the ball and dancing around and holding the ball. I got on him a lot about that. This year, he’s a quick decision maker. He catches it, he shoots it or makes straight line drives. When he does that, because he can shoot and because of what we have on the floor, we’re more efficient and he’s more efficient.”

The writer contends that Boston's players are also more willing to find "the open man instead of forcing well-guarded shots."

“If there’s anything that bothers Armond more than anything,” Coach Rivers said, “it’s when the ball stops. You can hear him all game, ‘Move it, move it.’ You see him in the huddle, that’s what he’s ticked off about.”

Says Ray Allen: “The offense is fun when the ball moves. That first, second and third pass tires them out on defense.”