Stat man: More of this Celtics lineup, please
|10.23.13 at 12:17 pm ET|
After Celtics coach Brad Stevens finally granted Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace extended playing time together, the media immediately jumped on its perceived success following Sunday’s preseason loss to the Timberwolves.
“I’d have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch — both in the first and second half,” Stevens told reporters in the immediate aftermath. “We played them together some in the first half, when we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And, based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’ll probably see that again.”
It was actually a 14:34 clip of the highly anticipated Green-Wallace combo, and it started wonderfully. The two combined for 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting over a 4:23 stretch in the first quarter, adding two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block during a span that trimmed Minnesota’s lead from 11 to four.
Beyond that? Not so much. They combined for a total of 8:11 during the second and fourth quarters, scoring seven points on 1-of-7 shooting to go along with three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal for a minus-2 rating.
Overall this preseason, Green and Wallace have shared 22:28 of court time and produced a minus-3 rating. Their production during their seven stints together is encouraging: 28 points (8-16 FG, 10-13 FT), seven assists (against five turnovers), five rebounds, three steals and a block. Although, a little less so when you account for the fact their primary defensive assignments during that span totaled 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting on the other end.
Really, their only successful run came during that first-quarter stint against the Timberwolves on Sunday. Interestingly, that coincided with the sole stretch of the preseason that Green, Wallace, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk all played together. Since this lineup fields the C’s five best players in Rajon Rondo‘s absence at the same time, many have clamored for it since Stevens announced his willingness to try Green at shooting guard. Yet, the Celtics coach has only utilized the five-man combo for a total of 2:50.
From the 6:20 mark until 3:30 remained in the first quarter, the Bradley-Green-Wallace-Sullinger-Olynyk quintet finished 5-of-6 from the field: Bradley layup (Green assist), Green layup, Green 3 (Wallace assist), Wallace layup, Wallace layup (Bradley assist) and Sullinger 3 (the lone miss). Not bad, huh? Meanwhile, they held the T-Wolves to 1-of-3 shooting and outscored Minnesota 11-3. Again, this is the only time they’ve played together this fall.
In other words, the Green-Wallace combo has really only ever succeeded — at least so far — inside this lineup. In other five-man combinations, they’ve been relatively pedestrian. So, when Stevens told reporters at Tuesday’s practice we should see the Green-Wallace combo “very early” in Wednesday’s preseason finale against the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett-less Nets, hopefully he’ll be playing them alongside Bradley, Sullinger and Olynyk.