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Around The NBA: Points Please


The NBA lockout was a black eye for the league.  The players and owners are both to blame.  But it’s even worse when the fans are the ones suffering from their mistakes.  Both sides threatened that they were willing to miss the entire season before ultimately, as we all know, they conveniently came together to start in time for a quintuple header on Christmas.

The slapped together 66-game season would be a rushed compromise.  The owners get the Christmas games (and a number of concessions in the new CBA), the players get their jobs back, and the fans?  The fans get what should have been a slightly abbreviated NBA schedule, complete with the aforementioned traditional Christmas games, an All-Star game, 16 less games (which doesn’t sound so bad), and most importantly a full post season.

But there’s a catch.

The overall quality of the games has been crap.  As many of the Celtics players said prior to the start of the season, it’s been rushed.  Two preseason games sounds good on paper.  Limited practice time, to the average fan?  Who cares?  Well, as we are all witnessing, it matters.  It matters big time.  The season was rushed and the on-court product/ fan experience has suffered.  In a way they have sacrificed the season, by not sacrificing the season.  I don’t see this as a long term problem, but as for the present, it’s embarrassing.

The Celtics scored 71 points last night.  71 points in 48 minutes.  (They played the whole game.)  I know Rajon Rondo didn’t play, but come on.  They were not alone in a night of futility around the league.  Check out some of these other final point totals: 75, 76, 79, 81, 80, 84, 86, 86, 88.  Faaaaaaaaaaantastic.

A closer look at the numbers: only four teams are averaging 100+ points per game this season.  (Yes I know it’s not even a month in, and two of those four teams are just a couple of bad nights away from being in the 90s).  By comparison, 11 teams put up at least 100 last season.  Equally discouraging, five teams are averaging less than 90 points per game this year, not one team did that for the entire season a year ago.

Many NBA experts warned us that this schedule, with the multiple back-to-backs, and the always dicey back-to-back-to-back, that there would be nights that teams just simply don’t have the energy.  Oh ok.  That should be consolation enough for the paying customer.  Sorry the Lakers scored 52 points thru 3 quarters in a primetime ESPN game… it was just “one of those nights.”  Weak.

Injuries have been a big discussion with the condensed season.  I don’t blame the number of injuries on the lockout like others do, I, more simply look at the effort and energy on a given night.  Rondo messed up his wrist going up for a layup on Wednesday that same exact play could have happened in a traditional 82-game season.  I’m not freaking out about the injuries, but the level of play, that’s the problem.

There are still an overwhelming number of must-see players around the league and intriguing teams and storylines.  However with so many “off nights” throughout the season, it becomes more difficult to defend the NBA product.  Again, I think/hope that this problem will be isolated to this season and not carry over.  It appears that it may not only be a long season for the Celtics, but for the NBA fans as well.

Rich Keefe is the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.  You can follow him on twitter: @Keefe21  

  • SteveB

    The lack of practice time is killing teams. I almost think the Celtics would be better off to go to a free form style of offense. They try to run so many set plays to perfection and then end up trying to beat the shot clock at the last second. This is a year where you need guys that can create their own shot, keep their dribble alive, and hit the open guy or guy cutting to the basket.
    I know Danny reportedly said he'd wait 10 more games but I think another week of bad losses will push him over the edge. Night after night of looking old and disinterested out there.

  • Sophomore

    Just wait 'til the Cs hit the nasty part of their schedule. We haven't had many back to backs yet, and we've already had our longest non-All-Star-break rest. Wait and see what happens when we're on the road, back to back to back, without days off for practice.

  • I_Love_Green

    I'm just going to enjoy the last couple weeks with this group.

  • Farhan

    I think the best way for the Celtics to remain a contender for the next few years as well is to pick up Eric Gordon and Kevin Love. I believe they will both become FA this summer and seem unlikely to resign with their current teams. KG and Ray can be resigned for less money and Pierce could still play and be the closer while also training EG to become the legitimate scorer that Pierce once was. Kevin Love can score and rebound (both which the Celtics need) and KG can promote defense to him. KG might even be able to play some center minutes since he will be coming off the bench. I feel like Rondo will love to play with those since they are both young (both are 23 I believe) and will enjoy passing the ball to them. Our starters could be Rondo, EG, Pierce, and Love (center is an issue I have not figured out yet haha) with KG and Ray coming off the bench. That way our bench will have scorers and defense installed. This is just my idea of keeping the Cs contending.

    • CWG

      Eric Gordon has to be a priority this off season….10 mil deal should get it done….or either trade Bradley and Wilcox for Mayo if we want to salvage this year…
      Look to resign J Green at a 3 year deal and steal Hibbert from Indiana with a 10 mil deal. If Ray and KG come back on 5 mil deals and come off the bench then the team could look like this….

      Starters – Rondo / Gordon / Green / Bass / Hibbert
      Bench – Allen / Pierce / Garnett / Pietrus / Steisma / Moore / Johnson
      Draft – Jeremy Lamb / Austin Rivers with the 2 first round picks – need to trade up and get one of them

      • Batman

        Eric Gordon is injury prone and not a good all around player
        We need to look deeper than guys like him

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