C's Offense Goes Missing During Game 1
NEW YORK – One question needed to be asked after Game 1 between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks: Who stole Boston’s offense?
The Celtics aren’t known for having a high-powered offense but they do have a reputation for being efficient at scoring the basketball. They did, after all, rank sixth in the NBA during the regular season with a field goal percentage of 46.5 percent.
That fantastic shooting was on full display during the first half of Saturday afternoon’s game at Madison Square Garden. Boston racked up 53 points on 52.6 percent shooting during the first half against the Knicks.
The C’s made their way to the locker room at halftime with a 53-49 lead, but that’s when they apparently were pick-pocketed. Someone stole their offense.
Boston came out in the second half and looked like a completely different team. The C's struggled mightily to even get shots off, and when it did attempt shots, they almost never went in.
It took the Celtics three minutes and 36 seconds to score their first point of the third quarter. They wound up shooting just 4-for-16 from the field during the frame en route to 17 points.
“We weren’t moving the ball like we were in the first half,” Avery Bradley said. “We got away from our game plan and the ball was sticking a lot. We weren’t able to make shots.”
Or make passes. Or dribble the ball. Or space the floor.
That’s the antithesis of the real Celtics offense. These guys usually make great passes, take care of the ball and space the floor. With those characteristics going missing in action, things got ugly in a hurry for Boston.
“We turned the ball over a ton and I thought our spacing was horrendous in the second half,” said Doc Rivers.
The spacing issue is what led to the turnovers. Boston didn’t see its standard passing lanes and as a result, it forced passes. Forced passes, as most NBA onlookers know, typically lead to turnovers.
“We were making post passes from the other side of the floor; those are just not good passes,” said Rivers. “I think we threw three passes from the half court to the post. You’re going to turn the ball over when that happens instead of just making the next pass, letting that guy make the pass when he’s in the passing area.”
Paul Pierce alluded to those ill-advised decisions after the game when he said his team made some “bonehead plays.” You don’t win in the playoffs when you make a few bonehead plays, let alone 20 of them.
The Celtics wound up committing 20 turnovers Saturday afternoon. New York capitalized on those 20 mistakes by scoring 21 points off of turnovers. That’s a quarter of the Knicks’ points during Game 1.
New York took advantage of Boston’s miscues, but even when the C’s were making sound decisions they didn’t see any positive results. Their shooting numbers dipped even further in the fourth quarter, as Boston shot a woeful 3-for-11 from the field. The team finished the final period with an anemic eight points.
Boston clearly lost its way on offense over the final 24 minutes. As Jason Terry noted, that isn’t going to fly in the NBA Playoffs.
“We need to put much more of a premium on taking care of the ball obviously with the pace that the game was at, it’s every possession,” Terry said. “You’re not given extra opportunities at the basket so the ones you do get you have to at least make sure you get a shot.”
Terry went on to proclaim that the Celtics will do all of that during Game 2, which tips off at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. That must mean he plans on catching the thief who stole his team's offense on Saturday.