Way back on Nov. 14, Danhtay Jones had a career night. This came as a bit of a surprise to various members of the Celtics, who were still shaking their collective heads several days after Jones burned them for 25 points in their only road loss of the season. Jones is not known as a scorer in any meaningful way, but at that moment in time he was in the midst of the best offensive month of his career, averaging 17.5 points and shooting over 46 percent from the floor.
Jones has returned to his regular ways in December (8.5 points per, 40 percent shooting), and his Pacers team has crash-landed along with him. It would be wrong to pin all that on him, of course. Jones is a small piece of his team, but it speaks to the danger of over-reacting to one game or one month.
Over the first 16 games of the season Rasheed Wallace took 146 shots and 96 of them were 3-pointers. In other words, two thirds of the shots that Sheed took were from beyond the arc. That would be Jason Kapono territory, but not even Kapono would take that many. Over the last 10 games Wallace has greatly cut back on his 3-point attempts, launching “just” 41 percent of his from 3-point range. The result is a much more efficient second unit that has a certified low-post option at its disposal.
All of which is to say that while it’s folly to place hope in veteran players like Jones becoming something they are not, it is possible to get different results from veteran players like Wallace by simply changing their approach.
CELTICS (21-5, 9-1 last 10)
Points Per Game: 101.5
Points Allowed: 91.9
Differential: 9.5 (First)
Offensive Efficiency: 110.4 (Sixth)
Defensive Efficiency: 100.0 (Second)
Pace: 91.3 (23rd)
Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Injuries: Glen Davis (thumb), Marquis Daniels (wrist)
PACERS (9-17, 3-7 last 10)
Points Per Game: 97. 4
Points Allowed: 101.2
Differential: -3.8 (T-24th)
Offensive Efficiency: 1007.7 (26th)
Defensive Efficiency: 104.6 (10th)
Pace: 96.7 (Second)
Likely Starters: Earl Watson, Dahntay Jones, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert
Injuries: Danny Granger (foot), Travis Diener (toe), Jeff Foster (back)
Key Matchup: Kevin Garnett vs. Troy Murphy (more…)