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Celtics vs. Pistons: Stats and trends

12.30.11 at 2:55 pm ET

It’s way too early to make sweeping statements about the Celtics, but a few items have stood out in their 0-3 start. The big takeaway is their defense has been atrocious. They are allowing 113.1 points per 100 possessions, the second-worst mark in the league, per basketball-reference.

Their interior defense has clearly slipped and they are getting scorched from the 3-point line where teams are shooting almost 50 percent. Their biggest problem, however has been at the free throw line where they have allowed 94 free throws, the second-most behind the Mavericks. The good news is they have been getting to the line at a decent rate themselves, but they are -15 in free throw points.

Oddly, the Celtics have been getting killed in the first quarter at the line where they have allowed 20 free throws and shot just three during the last two games. That’s the biggest reason for the discrepancy because they have been essentially equal in the next three quarters.

The one positive trend for the Celtics has been their third-quarter production where they have outscored their opponents, 88-63 while shooting 63 percent (34-for-54) from the field. This has held constant in all three games beginning with an inspired 35-17 run to open the second half against the Knicks.

Overall, their offense has been performing at a league average rate and what success they have had, is mainly coming from four players: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Keyon Dooling and Brandon Bass.

Allen has posted unreal shooting numbers of .588/.632/1.000 on two’s, three’s and free throws respectively. For those keeping track his .8111 True Shooting Percentage is the best in the league. Bass has supplied 14.7 points per game off the bench and is shooting 50 percent,. Rondo has been to the free throw line 27 times and is shooting an almost-respectable 67 percent, while Dooling has been an offensive energizer with his shooting.

Their biggest issue has been turnovers where they rank 30th in turnover rate. It’s been a team-wide issue from Rondo, Allen and Dooling to role players like Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic. The Celtics are simply giving away far too many possessions.

Enter the Pistons who may be coming along at exactly the right time for a team that desperately needs their first win of the season. Detroit has struggled out of the gate, losing big to Indiana and Cleveland. Here’s how they profile:


Offensive Rating: 95.4 (26th)

Defensive Rating: 111.3 (27th)

Pace: 88 possessions (25th)

Probable Starters: Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe

Rotation: Brandon Knight, Austin Daye, Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace

Who to watch: Jerebko is an active player who gets his points in transition and on the offensive boards. The Celtics will have to account for him. Knight is coming off a 23-point performance against the Cavs.


Offensive Rating: 102.7 (16th)

Defensive Rating: 113.1 (29th)

Pace: 93.8 (10th)

Probable Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Sasha Pavlovic, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal

Rotation: Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Brandon Bass

Injuries: Paul Pierce (Heel, questionable), Chris Wilcox (Shoulder, questionable) Mickael Pietrus (Knee, out).

Who to watch: Pierce, if he plays. Garnett should have a matchup advantage with Jerebko, but he will have to keep up with Jerebko’s energy.

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