Lost in all the attention on Dwight Howard’s touches is the fact that the Celtics committed 22 turnovers in Game 6, reverting to their regular season carelessness with the basketball. It is particularly unnerving that their offense came undone against the Magic, an elite defensive team but one that does not force a lot of turnovers because it doesn’t make forcing turnovers a priority. (They were 26th in the NBA in defensive turnover rate).
Do you know how many times the Magic forced 22 turnovers in a game this season? Once. Make that twice, now.
The Celtics have been able to maintain a decent offensive rating (107.3 points per 100 possessions, down from about 110.5 in the regular season) primarily because they’ve cut their turnover rate considerably in the post-season. They’ve turned the ball over on just 12 percent of possessions in the playoffs so far, the sixth-best mark among the 16 playoff teams–and a sharp decrease from their mark of nearly 16 percent in the regular season, 29th in the NBA.
Last night, they turned the ball over on one-in-four possessions, according to Third Quarter Collapse.
If they want to win Game 7, the Celtics will have to take better care of the ball.
Other news and notes after a depressing Game 6:
• The Globe has Ray Allen’s depressing stats in this series: He’s shooting 30.6 percent from the floor and is just 5-of-36 from deep. Here’s Rashard Lewis on the “Stop Ray” defense: “The game plan is to stay with him at all times. They run him off a lot of screens. Even if he’s coming off a screen with a [big man], we have to help and the whole defense has to shift over. Even when we double-team Paul Pierce and we try to leave [Rajon] Rondo open to shoot the jump shot, the guy that is guarding Ray Allen or Eddie House has to stay on him tight.”
• The C’s did not seem happy about the 31-13 free throw advantage for Orlando, according to the Herald. Rondo on the notion the didn’t attack the rim enough: “No comment really,” the Celtics point guard said about the free throw discrepancy. “I thought we attacked. I shot the ball 19 times. I shot maybe five jumpers at the most, went to the rim 14 times. It is what it is.”
And here’s the Captain on alleged referee inconsistency: “Every game is called differently,” said Pierce.
• I thought Dan Shaughnessy said minutes and fatigue don’t matter in the playoffs? Here’s Doc in the Herald: “It’s gotta be the shortest rotation in history,” Rivers lamented. “It’s exhausting but it’s what we have.”