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Game 10/82: Celtics (7-2) @ Grizzlies (4-5) Open Thread:

 


Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 104.6 points/100 possessions (13th)

Memphis: 102.2 points/100 possessions (20th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 98.1 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)

Memphis: 104.1 points allowed/100 possesions (15th)

Probable Memphis starters: Mike Conley Jr., Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

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Don’t skip out on this game. The Grizzlies gave the C’s two difficult matchups last year, including one of the C’s most entertaining regular season wins and one nightmarish loss. Tonight should be fun.

Plus, this game is going to show you something you’ve never seen before. Are you sitting down? Okay. Tonight, Tony Allen will hurl a pass 20 feet out of bounds and the Celtics will get the ball. Let it wash over you.

There are a couple of weird trends going on this season for Les Grizz. Basically everything they’re doing is the opposite of what they did last season, even though TA was their only major personnel change. Let’s open the curtains on the Small Sample Size Theatre for a second:

WHAT THE GRIZZLIES DO WELL:

Turnover differential. The Grizzlies have the best turnover differential in basketball right now despite finishing 19th in the league in 09-10. This is because they A) do not pass the ball under any circumstances (50% of baskets assisted, compare to Boston’s 68%) and B) Mike Conley has decided to start playing defense for some reason. He’s third in the league in steals. Anyway, don’t expect them to lose the number one spot after tonight.

WHAT THE GRIZZLIES DO POORLY:

Offensive rebound rate differential. The Grizz have actually gone from best to worst in this category, even though Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are posting three-year highs in ORR and they’ve played Phoenix, a team whose center prefers to hang out 20 feet from the basket, twice. It’s not that they’re not pulling down offensive boards, it’s that they’re allowing a ton. Gasol’s been a little weak on the defensive glass this season because of an ankle injury, but most of this trend is probably just a fluke.

PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. With Jermaine back in Boston to enjoy the end of leaf-peeping season, this is a pair that could give the C’s frontcourt some trouble tonight. KG could handle Randolph on his own, but he might have to help Shaq with Gasol. I predict Gasol will step back and hit a few 8-footers tonight and then, ten seconds later, Shaq will lurch forward to contest them. If KG gets involved with Gasol, that could make Randolph dangerous, because he can hit from all over the place.

Gasol has been slowed down with a bad ankle, so his usage has slipped and his defensive rebound rate, the percent of DRs that go to him when he’s on the floor, has slipped from last year’s 20 to 14. I don’t think we can read into that any more than we can KG’s DRR of 32, third in the league to board eaters Reggie Evans and Kevin Love. Gasol is still a point of concern on the boards.

Here’s a game where Semih Erden might actually be of some value. He moves around pretty well for his size, and he’s seen Gasol before. Somehow Turkey didn’t play Spain in this summer’s FIBA tournament, but they did hand Spain one of its two losses in the 2009 Eurobasket and, according to this Spanish box score, Semih had 11 puntos and held Gasol to only 5 puntos before Gasol left the game with 6 faltas. I bet Semih is hoping Doc is aware of this and gives him minutes. This is how the game plan meeting today will probably go:

Doc: Okay, guys. How are we going to limit Marc Gasol tonight?

(Semih gathers his courage and raises his hand to tell Doc that he owns Gasol and that he wants the start tonight).

Doc: Yes, Semih?

(Semih opens his mouth but then realizes he does not know how to speak English).

Semih (sad): Nert-zing.

Doc: What?

Ray: He said “Nothing.”

Very sad story there. Missed opportunities all around.

FACT: Shaq only played in one Cleveland-Memphis game last season. Zach Randolph had 32 points and 14 rebounds in that game and the Cavs lost even though LeBron dropped 43. Doesn’t LeBron on the Cavs seem like a billion years ago?

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:

Rudy Gay: Third in the league in points per game, directly related to his being third in the league in minutes played. Dude is not efficient. Also his attitude on defense could be described as “What is defense?”

Mike Conley, Jr. Fifth offensive option among the starters. 20th best assist rate in the league this season, two spots behind Rodney Stuckey, who will give his teammates the ball when they pry it out of his cold, dead fingers. And this performance has earned him eight million dollars a year for the next five seasons, even though he would have been a restricted free agent after this year and would have gotten an offer sheet of perhaps half that.

FACT: The Grizzlies are run by an owner whose only professional experience is as a computer salesman.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:

Hard to say. We’ve seen how well it works for the playoffs when the C’s save their energy in inconsequential games, especially when they have guys out with injuries. So maybe we want them not to try very hard.

But if we want them to win this game, we want to see Pierce and Ray exploit the total defensive apathy of the Grizz wings, and we want Rondo to chew up Mike Conley so bad that after the game Conley walks into the Grizzlies front office and tears up his contract as everyone respectfully slow-claps, not a dry eye in the room.

PREDICTION:

This is hard, because this feels like this one could potentially be an energy-saver for the C’s with their depleted frontcourt. But I don’t want to look like an idiot calling a Grizzlies win in my first prediction. I think Pierce will be the difference tonight.

Celtics 103, Grizzles 98

  • Kobe's Daddy

    Does anyone else get that weird feelin that if guys are relatively healthy and keep it goin hard, especially like the big 3 +1 right now, we might get 2 titles in a row?… just sayin.
    whos with me?

  • TedL

    "Tonight, Tony Allen will hurl a pass 20 feet out of bounds and the Celtics will get the ball. Let it wash over you"

    +15. At least.

  • zebulon

    "Turnover differential. The Grizzlies have the best turnover rate in basketball"

    Turnover differential and and turnover rate are separate statistics – turnover rate refers just to offense, and the percentage of a team's plays that end in a turnover. Differential is the difference between a team's offensive turnover rate and the turnover rate their opponents post against them. For example: Last year the C's were among the worst in the league in turnover rate, because we turned the ball over on such a high number of possessions (largely due to Rondo, Perk, and TA). But our turnover differential was about league average, because our defense was so successful at forcing opponent turnovers.

    • hdavenport

      That is absolutely right. Obviously meant differential there. Fixed!

  • Dan

    Rudy Gay has been efficient. He's shooting over 50% from the field and has a 117 ORR with 25% usage and a 59% TS%. These are good numbers that probably won't last but for the short term are worrisome.

    • hdavenport

      This is all true. I think I was referring to his career efficiency, mostly because I have a feeling his stats this season have been inflated by a few sloppy defensive teams (PHO twice, SAC, MIN, GSW).

    • zebulon

      Truth. I hate Rudy Gay (as a UCONN fan too) because he just never seems like he's trying, and despite his phenomenal physical talents, he has never taken that 'next step' to actually be a productive player. Except that this year he is shooting incredible percentages from all over the floor. It seems like just a fluke, but I hope Pierce/Quis are on defensively tonight, and can convince Rudy to settle for contested twenty footers (which he is apt to do).

      Also, I think "ORR" means "Offensive Rebound Rate", and "OR" means "Offensive Rating", which is what I think you meant. And for other reader's reference, a 117 Offensive Rating is really, really, really good. Like Lebron James or Steve Nash territory.

  • NHBluesMan

    as much as i loved TA when he was on the team, that comment was hysterical!

  • Josh

    great new writers, love em!

  • zebulon

    Also, this is a great game preview. Interesting, informative, on point. Great work.

  • Batman

    Aha the Semih joke was way too funny i can't stop laughing
    Good seeing more comedy on CH

  • I_Love_Green

    Rondo will go off on Conley, Walter Ray will show Ovinton how to shoot the ball, Pierce will show Rudy the truth, but Rudy won't be able to handle the truth! KG will do work, and Shaq will look like he's 83.

    LETS GO SEMIH!!!

  • TedL

    And just think – only one more game until the Delonte West era begins.

    We are witnesses.

  • kricky

    Nice first game breakdown man. You write well and hve a good sense of humor. Looking forward to reading a lot more form you.

  • hdavenport

    Marc Gasol is making me look like a huge idiot. 27 seconds away from no rebounds in the half. And Shaq blocked him 8 feet from the basket! Happy to be wrong, I guess?

    Meanwhile, feels like everything's been falling for the C's.

  • complexity

    Ray Allen coming alive!

  • complexity

    Come on, give it to Ray! Not that I wouldn't mind an overtime!

  • complexity

    No pierce isolation :(

  • Batman

    I'm very interested, how bad is Semih's english?

  • TedL

    Didn't get to see this game, but it continues a worrying trend. Grizz shot 53% from the field. Before that, Miami and Dallas shot 50%. What's up with the D?

  • ElRoz

    How bad is Rondo's free throw shooting? He is shooting below .500 now. He is actually getting worse. Yes we can all say that he is a good point guard, and that Jason Kidd also was not much of a shooter, but Kidd was never this bad…Rondo's 5-6 years and he still has not improved even a bit. I cannot consider him an elite point guard because at the end of the game, I would dread having hm on the FT line or open for a shot. Kidd and Rose might not be very good shooters, but they are way ahead of Rondo, not to mention Paul, D. Williams, Nash, and now Wall.

  • Morpheus

    Love the new writers here…..awesome and a pleasure to read

  • ash

    Ovinton J’Anthony? Really?

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