Celtics Hot or Not - April 26
BOSTON – We’re only two games into the Celtics versus Knicks series, but that isn’t too early to determine who’s Hot or Not for Boston.
As you might surmise based off of their 0-2 series hole, more Celtics have fallen into the “Not” category through the first two games. There are, however, a couple of C’s who have capitalized on their offensive opportunities.
HOT – Avery Bradley
No one would have ever predicted that Avery Bradley would be Boston’s most consistent shooter during the first two games in New York. However, the defensive-minded guard has been drilling his shots at a very high rate during this series.
Bradley has hit nine of his 19 shot attempts in the series for a field goal percentage of 47.4 percent. That’s the highest clip of any Boston player who has attempted more than 10 field goals in the series.
What’s great for the C’s is that Bradley is making his shots from all over the court. He has nailed half of his eight perimeter shots in the series, highlighted by a 2-of-3 performance from the left wing. That appears to be his sweet spot. Bradley has also made five of his 11 attempts in the paint, which isn’t a bad conversion rate in the land of the trees.
HOT – Brandon Bass
Brandon Bass hasn’t hit a shot from the right side of the court during this series, but that doesn’t mean he’s struggling. Bass has attempted five of his eight shots from the left side of the court and drilled four of them.
The shooting percentages Bass has put together thus far look great. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 100 percent from the line. The problem is that he isn’t taking enough shots to make those percentages count.
Bass is the only Celtics starter who has attempted less than 10 shots in the series. In fact, every other starter has attempted more than double the amount of shots that he has. Two reserves, Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford, have also attempted far more shots than Bass has.
The Celtics are at their best when the ball is moving and Bass is getting open jump shots. He has proven that he can hit them; now all he needs is for his teammates to help him find more of them.
NOT – Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce has struggled at the offensive end during this series. He’s leading the Celtics in scoring with 19.5 points per game but those points have been extremely inefficient. Pierce has hit only 41.2 percent of his shots in the series, which includes a woeful 16.7 percent clip from downtown.
What’s interesting is that Pierce has been very right-oriented during this series. The only shots he has taken from the left side of the court have been from behind the 3-point arc on the left wing, an area in which he has shot 0-for-5 in the series. The rest of his 29 shots have come from the center of the court or the right side of the court.
The silver lining for the C’s is that if those five 3-pointers from the left wing were removed from the equation, Pierce would be having one heck of a series. He’d be shooting at a 48.3 percent clip while pouring in just less than 20 points a game. Pierce has shot well from his sweet spots; now all he needs to do is find his range from behind the arc (and cut down on those 5.5 turnovers a game that he has committed).
NOT – Kevin Garnett
Yep, Kevin Garnett has been ice cold, too. It’s no surprise that the Celtics are winless thus far in the series in the midst of Pierce and Garnett’s struggles.
Garnett has hit just 38.1 percent of his shots in the first two games of the series. Per usual, he has excelled with his perimeter jump shot, having made three of his six attempts in the mid-range. However, he has struggled mightily around the basket.
Twelve of Garnett’s 21 shot attempts in the series have been attempted either from the restricted area or the block area. He has made only four of those shots. That’s not typical of KG’s post game, and those numbers certainly won’t push the Celtics into the win column.
Just as there is with Pierce, there is a silver lining with Garnett’s numbers. It’s almost a guarantee that he’ll catch his rhythm around the basket. When he does, he’ll put up some very efficient numbers.