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Irish Coffee: Celtics’ shooting aim historically high

01.10.11 at 1:42 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

In the past 20 seasons, only a handful of teams have shot at least .500 from the field for an entire season. Despite shooting just .378 against the Bulls on Saturday night, the Celtics are still shooting .502 as a team this year, keeping pace with some pretty remarkable company historically.

Here are the teams that have shot better than .500 for an entire season since 1991-92:

  • 1994-95 Utah Jazz (.512)
  • 1991-92 Chicago Bulls (.508)
  • 1991-92 Golden State Warriors (.507)
  • 2008-09 Phoenix Suns (.504)
  • 1996-97 Utah Jazz (.504)
  • 1994-95 Orlando Magic (.502)
  • 2007-08 Phoenix Suns (.500)

There are plenty of conclusions to draw based on that list. Here are a few:

  • Of those seven teams, two — the 1991-92 NBA champion Bulls and 1994-95 Magic — reached the NBA Finals.
  • The guys who those offenses ran through: Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Hardaway — which means Rajon Rondo would join some pretty remarkable players.
  • The fact that the 1984-85 Lakers shot .545 from the field for the season is simply ridiculous.
  • The last time the Celtics eclipsed .500 was in 1990-91, when Larry Bird & Co. shot .512 for the season.

The overwhelming positive for the Celtics is that they’re only allowing their opponents to shoot .437 from the field — better than any of the seven teams on that list. Six of those teams let their opponents shoot better than .450, and only the 1996-97 Jazz came close to this year’s C’s, allowing their opponents to shoot .438 from the field.

Will Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo finally play together again on Monday? (AP)

KEVIN GARNETT IS BLOGGING?

We’ve got to pour out a little something for the guys over at Red’s Army for finding a blog that Kevin Garnett supposedly writes for Anta, the Chinese shoe company that Garnett signed with over the summer.

It’s hard to imagine Garnett sitting still long enough to crank out a blog on a computer, but the English-to-Chinese translations certainly sound like him. Here are the highlights from his recent posts:

  • On his injury: “Just ’cause I ain’t playing don’t mean I’m not working out. I’m working super hard and feeling good. … After the [Toronto] game, Dr. looked at my leg, and we’re close. Real close to getting back. ”
  • On Luke Harangody: “If he keeps working hard, he’ll be good.”
  • On the Chicago loss: “I don’t know how to describe the game as the guys’ energy was low, the ball was ‘sticking’ and not popping around.  Guys were not doing their jobs.  Frustrating watching and not being able to help. We played six games in nine days, so the guys need a break.”
  • Jermaine O’Neal is “starting to get” their sets.
  • On Glen Davis: “Baby and I talked for a minute about his career. The young guys need to learn more, so it was good to talk to Baby about how it is.”

Garnett’s return from a calf strain could come tonight against the Rockets. Stay tuned for updates.

RAY ALLEN RUNS CIRCLES AROUND OPPONENTS

In a fantastic piece, Paul Flannery broke down exactly how Ray Allen‘s constant motion helps the Celtics’ halfourt offense succeed. Allen’s basketball — particularly about shooting — is astounding, and this piece only accentuates that fact. Here are a few highlights:

  • “If I run hard enough, nine times out of 10 I get open,” Allen said. “So that’s why I try to run so hard.”
  • He discovered some years ago that he is right-eye dominant. A small thing perhaps, but once he came to that conclusion he also realized that when he comes off the screen on the right side he didn’t have to turn his body completely around because he can still see the target out of the corner of his eye.
  • “Once I come from underneath the basket you kind of glance over your shoulder and see if your guy is trailing you or of he tried to shoot the pick, going over the top,” Allen said. “If both guys came with me, then I have a pass. It’s a split-second decision that you have to make.”
  • “With Paul, so many people are going to swarm him and be around him, so I have to make sure that I give him space,” Allen said. “At the same time I almost have to dangle my man around him to make my guy make a decision: Am I going to help or not am I not going to help?”

Side note on Allen: He’s currently made 2,514 career 3-pointers, trailing Reggie Miller‘s all-time NBA record of 2,560 by just 46. At his current rate of 2.1 3-pointers per game, Allen should pass Miller in 22 more games.

TOM THIBODEAU ON RAJON RONDO

Rondo still owns the advantage over Bulls point guard Derrick Rose for the NBA All-Star Game’s second starting guard position behind the Heat’s Dwyane Wade.

While former Celtics assistant and current Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau supports Rose’s candidacy, he understands Rondo’s impact. Here’s what he had to say about Rondo in the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Rajon is an offense unto himself. I think that he was a very confident player from the first year that I was [with the Celtics], and he’s just gotten better and better. He’s very smart. He knows how to read defenses. …

“He’ll provide whatever the game needs, whether it is defense or making plays, and he can make something out of nothing. He can look a defense off and create a great shot every time down the floor.”

Well, I guess that explains why the Celtics are shooting better than .500 as a team for the season.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail to brohrbach@weei.com or a Twitter message to @brohrbach.)

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