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How Hard Will C’s Hit The Glass This Year?

Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe has a nice little tidbit in his notebook column this morning, with the C’s talking rebounding. It’s actually something I was planning on getting into next week, but let’s hear what these guys have to say on it first:

They neglected the glass all last season, and it came back to haunt them in the Finals. Now, Celtics’ focus on improving their rebounding borders on obsession.

In the preseason opener against the 76ers, Ray Allen grabbed eight boards, an abnormal number for him. The next night in New Jersey, Paul Pierce grabbed a game-high six.

The Celtics marked the glass as their territory in the preseason, outrebounding their Atlantic Division sparring partners by an average of 43.4-34.6. Last season, they gave up 40.1 rebounds a night, grabbing just 38.6.

They’ve added size in Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal, but from the time training camp opened, coach Doc Rivers made boxing out a top priority and emphasized that rebounding has to be a collective effort.

“We lost a championship because we got destroyed on the glass,’’ Rivers said. “You can look at a lot of things in that game, but the bottom line is, when a team outrebounds you by double the amount on the offensive glass and they shoot 25 more free throws than you, you’re probably going to lose that basketball game.’’

The preseason numbers indicate that the Celtics get the message, but there were stretches when Rivers wasn’t pleased with the rebounding. Wednesday night against the Nets, New Jersey jumped out to a 27-15 lead on the Celtics starters, mostly by controlling the boards (14-8).

“We’ve got to be a better rebounding team,’’ Rivers said. “I think we started out well, we’ve won the war, but I actually think we’re still giving up too many. We’re not going to win if we don’t rebound.’’

The Celtics have adopted an at-all-costs mentality to make sure the rebounding battle is won.

“As long as somebody gets the rebound,’’ Allen said. “The most important thing is my guy can’t get it.

“I think each man has said it, and I believe it wholeheartedly: Rebounding is what kept us from winning the whole thing.’’

So do you believe the talk?

These guys have the right idea on how much rebounding cost them in the regular season. We all know the problems they had on the offensive end (28th in offensive rebounding percentage), but they took a significant step back on the defensive glass (just 12th in defensive rebounding percentage) thanks to KG’s limited mobileness and Rasheed’s “workmanlike” effort rebounding from outside the arc on most occasions.

So here’s my question to you guys? Just how big of a jump in rebounding do you expect this year? Obviously the preseason was a nice start and I’m very encouraged by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen making a concerted effort to hit the glass. Pierce is actually one of the best SF rebounders in the league when he wants to see as shown by last year’s postseason. KG is looking tremendously more mobile this year which undoubtedly will help as well.

Jermaine and Shaq can both hold their own at their spot, but do you expect these veteran guys to keep up the pressure on the glass through the 82 game grind, or keep some in the tank for the postseason? I’m on the fence but I have to say: The good news may be that this year, they have the depth to do both.

  • SteveB

    The rebounding definitely has to be a team effort. You can't have four guys running down the court hoping that the center will snag the rebound. I've been impressed with Shaq so far. If he's in the paint, which he usually is, he seems able to snag any nearby rebounds.
    As stated in the article Ray and Paul need to chip in and Rondo seems to be able to fly in at will and grab key boards. Now add the bench work of Baby and JO and the Celtics should rank high in the league.
    Since rebounding and second chance points killed them last year and lost the title I'll predict they are top 5 in the league and out rebound opponents by an average of 6 boards per night.

  • KevinT

    Part of their rebounding issues is their oft-manic rotation on defense. Teams can find themselves stifled with no open shot, but when they eventually force one up, you end up with cross matches on block assignments or with players just out of postion because they are moving as the shot goes up. Still, effort is one of the biggest indicators as to who will secure a rebound once it caroms off the rim or backboard.

    I've long felt that Shaq is a fantastic rebounder, especially in his area because it's so difficult to navigate around him and once he touches the ball you won't knock him off of it. Garnett and Davis are very good at securing rebounds that aren't in their area initially. They can beat people to the spot or run by them to snatch the ball. Rondo is amazing at being able to anticipate the bounce and run to meet the ball as it falls.

    If they can shore up the defensive glass they'll be murder in the open court. As you could see in the Toronto game and somewhat in the last Nets game, they can score in transition when the bigs are gobbling up the opposing team's misses and the wings are out running.

  • J Atlas

    to piggy back off what kevin t said i think that our crazy switches on the defense end allowed for so many mismatches that the other teams would get a decent second chance opportunity. the key this season starts as the ball is coming off the rim by that i mean BOXING OUT the closest man to you. if everyone from the starting five down to the 15th man does this then we will be a top 5 rebounding team no problem…oh did i mention that we are going to win banner 18?

  • aaron

    very hard, that is how the cs will hit the glass. Every vet on the team knows that. The ones that lost last year know it very well(its one big reason they lost). My wife said of Shaq on the first night of "man, he's just huge". One extra big body in the paint really helps, plus he has been a great force thus far in the painted area. JO, once healthy is a great addition, and I don't think KG will be having to go up for a board slowly with one hand like in the finals.
    The quote by Ray sums it up. The team needs to understand that the opposing team can't get SO many second chances. Last season, the transition game was unstopable, as long as there was one. Offensive glass is nice too. We as fans will miss Scal's intense power in the paint, but Quis is making up for that.
    So far in the preseason, its obvious how hard they will atack the glass, now if they would stop turning over the ball so much.

  • Big George

    Adding the O''Neals and having a healthy Big Baby will help set the right course for the year unlike last year when we had the injuries and had to make due for the most of the season. The team fell in to bad habits like giving up 4th quarter leads lack of rebounding effort, turnovers and so forth if the Celtics use the regular season for anything it should be to work on those three problems.

    I agree with the team effort when PP gets 6 to 9 rebounds a game it makes us that much tougher same with Ray. Rondo is going to get his boards just because he is a freak! But it really comes down to the bigs boarding and getting the snappy outlet pass and watching Rondo run the starting five will be one of the best fastbreak teams in the league if we get the boards.