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Continuity, Schmontinuity

 

In the aftermath of the Boston-Cleveland series, there was much talk about the contrast between the continuity of the C’s starting five, intact since the 2007-08 season, and that of the Cavaliers, which had precious little time to get to know each other at the end of the regular season. 

And for a starting line-up, expected to play 30 or 40 minutes together in big games, that lack of continuity is probably an issue. 

But it might not be an issue for every sort of unit. Take the Nate Robinson-Ray Allen-Tony Allen-Glen Davis-Rasheed Wallace unit that played the first 9:10 of the 4th quarter of Game 4 and outscored the Lakers by 8 points in that span. 

Before that 9:10 stint in Game 4, that unit had played about 13 minutes together combined in the regular season and playoffs, according to Basketball Value’s line-up data for the playoffs and the regular season

So much for chemistry and knowing each other’s tendencies and all that mythical stuff about understanding where another player is going to cut just from the look in their eye, huh?

This suddenly famous five-some spent all of 6:15 together in the entire regular season, and there was nothing in that 6:15 to suggest they’d be anything special. They outscored opponents 14-13 over that 6:15, according to Basketball Value. In a tiny sample size, they looked like a unit that could score well but might have problems defending. 

And as I had pointed out earlier, most of the Celtics negative (in plus/minus terms) post-season line-ups included the Big Baby/Sheed combination up front. 

And yet, the five-man group held the Lakers to 15 points over the first 9:10 of the 4th quarter. 

Think about this again for a second: With Boston’s season essentially on the line, Doc Rivers tossed out a line-up that had basically zero prior experience playing together. 

We’ll see that group again in Game 5, I’d expect.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    amen. my respect for doc grows every game. he was so methodical, predictable and rigid during the regular season and now has proven willing to trust his gut and spice it up during critical stretches, sit marquis, sit perk down the stretch, give more late game burn to baby, etc. he is outcoaching the grand puba himself. respect.

    note: i also hope doc never leaves that lineup in so deep in the 4th quarter again. not that they didn’t get it done…..but as time wore on i was definitely heading towards a stroke…..baby OK….but TA + nate + sheed…….a ticking timebomb :)

  • Korey

    Don’t believe me? What do these stats from the LakerBlog say:
    “Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Information: Andrew Bynum has yet to record a negative plus/minus during his four games of the Finals.

    He’s spent 109 minutes of the series on the court and 83 on the bench. The net points with him on the court are +13, and -9 with him sitting. Adjusted over 48 minutes, the point differential is +5.7 while playing vs. -5.2 while watching. ” -LakersBlog.

    The lakers will win this series if Bynum plays the majority of minutes the next 2 games.

    Take That JMM, Pilgrim, Jay P and friends.

    I know, I know, the stats dont matter when they go against your team.

    Regardless, Take That.

    I’ll be back after game 5 to revel in this victory.

  • stephen

    Andrew Bynum- a slightly better then average center at best. That’s not saying much in today’s NBA.

  • JMM

    Korey,

    Your stats rebut your own “point”.

    Per the stat you cite, no matter how good or how much Bynum plays, the Lakers are 2-2 against the Cs.

    Bynum is not the key. The Celtics shooters and bench are the keys.

  • sonicreducer

    Wow Korey, I didn’t know you were so tight with Bynum’s knee. That’s amazing! How many minutes did it say it has in it for tomorrow? And you’re going to be doing your reveling online which we all know is by far the most fun way to revel. Those idiots in New Orleans down on Bourbon Street have it all wrong!

  • stephen

    Hey Korey, were did you go man?

  • I love Green

    Bynum won’t be playing much in game 5, so don’t get ahead of yourself there korey.

  • stephen

    Korey thinks that Bynum is Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

  • Sophomore

    Wow. Korey. What do the stats say about game 2, in which Bynum played 39 minutes, and about as well as he can possibly play?

    The most important stat is points, which came out Celtics 104, Lakers 96. His plus-minus? Plus 1. BFD.

    Be serious.

  • DRJ1

    Hey, I knew a guy worked in the schmontinuity business, over on 36th street. Yeah… he used to eat dem bagels on the corner like it was goin outta style…

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Korey’s tread-jacking jumped the shark at some point after Game 3, I think.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    *thread

  • DRJ1

    Well, what Korey and all the other Lakers folks miss is the fact that health is PART OF the contest. The Celtics paid a heavy price in the regular season for their efforts to get the team as healthy as possible for the playoffs. Phil did not. Part of the issue here is — which team can stay the healthiest? It’s part of what the series is about.

    Therefore, saying “we woulda won if so-and-so had played more” is ridiculous.

  • mitch

    If Korey writes again on the blog, he will prove what an insignificant little anal blood fart he is

  • Anonymous

    +1, +0, +1, + 11

    The +11 was game 1

  • will

    I wonder will they take back the foul on resheed when gasol fell down by himself and the officials called resheed for the foul?

  • Eran

    I’m a Celtics fan, but I’m sorry to say that Korey is right on target. With Bynum the Cs hardly get any layup opportunities, it is significantly harder for them to win the rebound battle and Gasol does not have to withstand all of the burden of the Cs frontcourt physical play.Yes, we did win game 2, but that was mostly due to a combination of a once in a lifetime performance by Ray, and Kobe being in foul trouble. Latest news are that Bynum will definitely play in Game 5. This means in my opinion that we will need a very special performance to win this one.

  • Devon

    @ Mitch… I’ll take anal bum farts for a thousand. Perfect.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Doc does some things very well. I really liked last game how he was staying positive in the huddle during time outs and how he left the bench in & allowed them to thrive. Probably the most annoying thing Doc did this past season was playing many of the starters into the ground & not playing guys extra minutes based on what was ACTUALLY HAPPENING on the floor. When a certain group of guys are #1 playing great D & #2 moving the ball, making the extra pass, & getting great shots for each other then Doc needs to keep his cottonpickin’ fingers off & stop mucking it up with his predetermined, even before the game is started, substitution plans. If the bench is basically holding it steady or more importantly building on a lead then they should be left out there until things are going in the opposite direction. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, Doc. I cannot thank Doc enough for having the cajones to do what he did last game. THANK YOU DOC!!!!!

    It also gives the starters more rest. I absolutely believe that giving the starters that extra rest enabled Rajon to be quick enough to steal that Kobe pass. It enabled Paul to have more lift in his legs for those crucial shots etc.

    Doc & the team have a horrible habit of getting away from or subbing out to quickly from what works. Doc “feels” that Ray “should” be able to hit some shots, BUT if other Cs are scoring then why force it? Why intentionally go away from what is working???? Artest is getting stuck on picks….milk it!!!! KG is on fire…. milk it!!!! Ray is on fire…. milk it!!!! Rajon is getting layups….milk it!!!! We get away from what is ACTUALLY WORKING ON THE FLOOR all the time & it is SELF-destructive.

    Seriously, it does look like Artest is having tons of trouble getting stuck on picks so why are the Cs not picking him to death??????? C’mon Doc just go with what is actually working!

  • I love Green

    @Eran- He’s definitley playing, but that doesn’t mean his knee will let him be effective. I think he’ll play about 20 minutes, and struggle a lot in the second half forcing Phil to go with Odumb.

  • Eran

    @I love Green – I really hope you’re right. If that’s the case, I bet on a win.

  • lakershater13

    korey only comments until he is proven completely wrong. he continues to comment but wont comment on game 2 when bynum played great and they lost. he says if bynum plays that the rebounds go to la but la was out rebounded in game 2 when bynum had his best game. korey just wont comment when he is proven wrong. if your wrong about something at least have the balls to admitt it.

  • sonicreducer

    Threadjacking noted and here after avoided. What I’d like to see, and would never be able to put together myself, is a graph showing the relative amount of PT that each individual Celtic has played with any of the others from that 4th qt lineup, not just as a whole. Because while there is definitely something to be said for playing together as a cohesive and unaltered group, it’s not like they haven’t been on the court at the same time with any of each other before. Being able to react to a teammates’ body language is a learned skill inherent to the two individuals themselves more so than in the context of the entire group dynamic. Sure there’s going to be different plays called based on personnel but I’m sure that Nate knows that how and where Sheed sets a pick is going to be slightly different than where Perk does so on the same 1 5 combo regardless of who else is on the floor. It just so happens that this group of players matched up well with the Lakers starters at that point of the game. A huge kudos to Doc for gameplanning that unusual lineup and then sticking with them but ballers as good as the ones on the Cs are already experts on athletic body language, the inexpressible, unthinking read and react of the sport, and they know each teammates’ own particular dialect so this isn’t a random fluke as much as the stats would have one think.

  • Eran

    @lakershater13 – Are you certain the Cs will repeat their game 2 performance? How often have you seen them win when their opponent scores at lease 94 points? This postseason they are 2-6 in such games, the only other win coming against Miami.

  • C. Chimurenga

    Dear CptBubbles,
    Thanks for letting us know about Doc’s ‘cottonpickin fingers’.

    You know that; how?.

  • inolongerhatemarquisdaniels(causehenolongerplays)

    -I kinda like Korey… he is a consistent contributer who tries to make valid points rather than just bash Celtics fans which is what most laker fans would do

    -I hope he continues to post after the Cs win in 6 or 7

    -Doc is the man… he loves his team and his team loves him

    -I bleed green… it would mean the world to me if we could pull this off…

    -according to my calculations… if we win game 5… 72% chance we win the series

  • Ray Leighton

    Several comments:

    First, I think that Korey got a bit too abusive in an earlier post, resulting in a lot of bad will. In case you guys missed it, he did apologize, and he is trying to have a normal discussion (although I admit that he pushed my buttons enough that I was ready to tell him to fuck off). I think that Korey probably has a bit of a chip on his shoulder because he thinks that most of us don’t respect certain things, such as the Lakers’ defense etc. And let’s face it — most Celtic fans, myself included, have big chips on their shoulders when it comes to dealing with Lakers’ fans. The number of Laker trolls invading this site is far greater than what we would see from any other team. Nothing like some idiot going onto another team’s website yelling “Your team sucks”. Obviously, we’ve got two teams in the Finals; they don’t suck.

    Anyway, can we get soften the abuse a bit, and get back to the subjects at hand?

    @Eran & Korey — we had a post earlier in the playoffs about the fact that the Celtics were awful during the regular season at finishing at the rim. We clearly have been very guilty of that during the Finals as well — we missed eight uncontested layups by my count in the first half of Game 4 alone. I do think that the Lakers’ defense has been very solid, much better than I had expected (especially their interior defense), but that said, we didn’t miss those easy layups because of Bynum; we just missed them. It’s one thing to say that we are missing open looks because of solid Laker defense, but when we miss easy layups — and we have shown this same trend of missing them in stretches during the season — I don’t think that it has much to do with the Lakers’ defense or Bynum. That said, there is always the psychological factor of having a big around who can block your shots and maybe this is throwing off the layups, but that’s difficult to judge empirically and many of those layups were in transition when Bynum wasn’t anywhere in sight.

    The Lakers capitalized on those layups by running in transition the other way. Our missed layups leading to their successful layups was the main reason why the Lakers were even in the game. By my count, it was about a 24-point swing. I really felt like we dominated the game except in the one thing that mattered — the score. I think that the biggest concerns for the Lakers right now are whether they really can stop our transition and whether they can trust their own bench. I think that the biggest worry about Bynum will be whether he can keep up with the Celtics’ bigs, who are very good about running in transition. All of these problems may be related — with Bynum slower and a lack of depth, the Lakers will have to be extra-sharp on offense to keep the Celtics from turning it into a layup drill against an exhausted set of Laker starters. Again, for the C’s, it’s on our defense again.

    Korey — one issue with the +/- is that sometimes, the +/- is biased by the difference in talent between your starters and your bench. If your bench sucks, then the +/- of a starter gets elevated. Bynum’s strong +/- might be partly of a function of the Lakers’ bench, their greatest weakness, getting outplayed in three of the four games. Specifically, when Bynum is offcourt, he is replaced by Odom, and well, yeah, it’s impossible to tell which Lamar Odom is going to show up. Odom hasn’t exactly had a great series, so Bynum’s +/- may go up.

    Of course, by this logic, one would expect that Kobe’s +/- would be astronomical because he is getting replaced by Shannon Brown….

    Lastly, as I am on so late (again), you probably haven’t seen this comment when I posted it before (and may not again, but here goes), but uh, yes, TA is a much better defender than Grant Hill etc., and the numbers back it up. No question that TA is getting great help defense, but TA is also an elite defender and his defensive production and opponent’s production numbers back that up. Grant Hill isn’t even close. In fact, TA’s defensive numbers are in the same range as Ron Artest’s. And Kobe is not the only elite player that TA has had a big role in shutting down in the playoffs.

  • Perry

    @Ray

    I think it’s 27% on 5 made shots. That’s Kobe’s FGM when guarded by TA. But tonight is the prefect setting for Kobe to cement his greatness. Maybe not at the rim (that part of his game has faded), but certainly between 15-20 feet with a variety of drives and post up moves. Look for him to establish his mid range game early. The Laker game plan tonight is to keep it close and let Kobe do his thing in crunch time. A lot of his success, or lack thereof, may depend on the way the officials call tonight’s game.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    –see entire season

    @Ray & Perry good points.

    Seems like 90% of the talk is always about offense. No wonder most nba teams focus on scoring (and are thereby eliminated). I just hope the Cs continue to play their hardest / most focused on D & hold the lake below 90. When they play hard D & get out on turnovers & force the lake to worry about their offense it takes the pressure off our offense. We are at our worst when we focus foremost on offense & think too much about offense. Offense comes & goes (just like our beloved kobe says), but defense is a place where you can have some consistency. If you defend well you will always be in the game.

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