Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Aiming to Overcome Slow Starts

Friday, Nov. 24 - Magic at Celtics

Pregame – Celtics Looking to Overcome Slow Starts

BOSTON – Through their first 19 games, the Boston Celtics have already had eight fourth-quarter comebacks and have overcome five deficits of 13 points or more.

While their ability to come from behind shows great team resolve, it also brings up a concern; the C’s are playing from behind too often, and that can be attributed to their tendency to start off games in an offensive lull.

Coach Brad Stevens finds that the lack of ball movement is one of the main reasons behind those early lulls. After finishing second in the league last season with an average of 325.3 passes per game, Boston has fallen to 18th with an average 288.1 passes per game.

While that’s a significant drop, Stevens is not overly concerned because the C’s tend to have a more well-oiled passing attack during the second halves of games.

“When you look at the first half versus the second half, [the ball movement] is night and day,” Stevens said Friday evening before tip-off against the Orlando Magic. “We need to get the ball side to side because that’s usually a good indicator that we’re going to get a good attack … I think that side-to-side movement often precedes paint attacks, and paint attacks often precede good shots.”

Stevens admitted that the players’ lack of familiarity could be attributing to the lack of ball movement, but he added, “We should be making progress in that regard. And we’re doing enough in the third and fourth quarters to indicate that we can.”

The Celtics are hoping for a more balanced passing attack Friday night when they host a Magic team that has lost six straight contests while allowing 114.6 points per game.

- Taylor C. Snow