|Celts get back to business||11.09.09 at 5:06 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The infamous stretch of eight games in 12 days is behind the Celtics, who now have a little bit of time to tighten the things that began to get away from them over the weekend.
“Defense and offense, we were slipping in both areas,” Doc Rivers said after a two-hour session Monday. “Defensively, our transition defense was starting to struggle. Our pick-and-roll defense was really slipping. That’s why you need practices. We still have new guys, down the stretch of games that’s when it really shows.”
A popular topic of conversation was the number of 3-pointers the Celtics have taken so far this season. Through eight games the C’s have taken 154 3-pointers, and Rivers suggested after the loss to Phoenix that he thought his team was searching for the 3-point line instead of attacking the middle of the Suns defense, where the Celtics had so much success.
Rivers, though, said several times that he didn’t mind the amount of 3′s his team was hoisting and he clarified the remarks he made at the end of the Phoenix game.
“I don’t mind the amount of 3’s we’re taking at all,” Rivers said. “What I don’t want is at the end of the game, is settling for them. I think we thought that we needed 3′s to get back in the game and we didn’t. We just needed to play. As far as the amount of 3’s we’re taking, I’m fine with that. They’re good shots for us.”
One player in particular has stood out for his willingness to shoot the long ball: Rasheed Wallace. Wallace has shot 75 times this season, and 50 of his attempts have been from beyond the arc, which even for him is a little much — particularly because he went 0-for-10 against Phoenix and New Jersey. Still, Rivers insisted that there was nothing wrong with Wallace’s role.
“I have no problem with it,” Rivers said. “We’re 7-1 and Rasheed is a big reason for that. Even when he misses, he’s taking a [center] and making them stand out by the 3-point line when Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] are working down low, or Kevin [Garnett] or [Kendrick Perkins] or someone else. Obviously, we want to keep mixing it up and get him on the post and get Kevin on the post. His shooting is a big factor for us.”
A couple of things that are worth pointing out here:
1. The Celtics are averaging 19.3 3-point attempts per game, which ranks 12th in the NBA. In other words, the high volume of 3-point attempts is a league-wide trend.
2. The Celtics are making the 3′s at a rate of of just over 40 percent, which ranks fourth in the NBA.
3. They are holding teams to 32 percent shooting from 3-point range, which is tied for seventh.
So, the Celtics are making good use of the 3-point line, both offensively and defensively. There is ample evidence that suggests that teams that shoot more 3-pointers, and shoot them better, will win most of their games.
“I know this is a big deal all of a sudden here about 3-point attempts,” Rivers said. “I’m not upset at all. I like what we’re doing. We’re causing teams miserable problems because we’re spreading the floor.”
NOTES: Bill Walker practiced for the first time since undergoing knee surgery, while Brian Scalabrine sat out the sessions. Scalabrine was a DNP on Friday because of back spasms, but he suited up on Saturday while Marquis Daniels was away tending to a personal matter.
Walker still has a ways to go before he can get a chance at cracking the end of the rotation, but it does appear that his rehab is right on schedule, which is a good sign for the second-year forward, who has flashed interesting potential in his limited minutes.
“We didn’t hold him back at all,” Rivers said. “He was fine. I don’t know what his schedule was. I’m assuming it’s about on schedule because [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] told me a week ago this is the day he’s going to practice.”
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