Opening Up The Files On The Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: Living and dying by the 3 is costing Celtics games

The Boston Celtics had a tough weekend at home, losing to both the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, losing their grip of double-digit leads in both games.

On Friday against the Nets, the Celtics shot 9-of-29 from 3-Point range, losing a 28-point lead along the way. On Saturday against the Knicks, the Celtics shot 21-for-59 from deep and let an 11-point lead slip away.

It’s fair to say there’s way too many 3’s being taken, although head coach Joe Mazzulla says otherwise.

“They beat us in every analytical category possible. If we don’t commit to the margins no matter how hard we play, we’re not going to win. They got more three’s up, they got more shots up, they got more free throws, they got more offensive rebounds, and they turned it over less. You can play as hard as you want, you’re not going to win with that.”

Mazzulla is strongly focusing on the rate at which his team is putting up shots, specifically the deep ball. We know that he “likes math” and that three points are worth more than two points, but I’m here to say that the Celtics are “dying by the three” in this final stretch of the regular season.

Jaylen Brown missed the game against the Knicks on Feb. 27 for personal reasons. When he was asked what he saw in the game by Bobby Manning of CLNS, Brown said the team took too many threes to start the game.

“We started off the game shooting way too many threes.”

So it seems like some of the players aren’t buying into Mazzulla’s philosophy of shooting as many 3’s as possible is the best way to win a game. At least not anymore. 

Brown is shooting 49.4 percent on midrange shots this season, Mazzulla should be pushing for his team to take shots from the midrange and midpost before taking 3’s. 

It’s clear that Boston can score points, as the season average is 117.7 points per game, which is good for fifth in the NBA. They’re not blowing leads on the offensive end, it’s all defensive. There needs  to be a stronger focus on defense. 

Follow us on Twitter @CelticsFiles

Photo Credit: Barry Chin, The Boston Globe

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